Town puts up gold processing plant

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Monday, June 2, 2014


BANGUED, Abra -- The gold processing plant at Tagodtod in Lagangilang municipality, which is expected to balance the adverse effects of irresponsible mining in the province has gained its Environmental Compliance Certificate.

Lagangilang Mayor Patrocinio Abaya Jr. made this clarification as he bared the plant is not yet operational as they are still processing and completing documentary requirements for its operation.

Abaya shared mining in Abra, especially in the upland municipalities, was already rampant when he was a small boy.

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He said Lagangilang, being the first town to explore mining, will most likely suffer the result of irresponsible mining stressing this will contaminate waterways especially since their main water source comes from Baay River.

Licuan-Baay is known for small-scale mining activities, he pointed out.

“In as long as there is small scale mining in the upland areas, the province needs a centralized gold processing plant to contain and treat all chemicals used,” stressed Abaya.

Engr. Ernesto Aton Sr. of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said mercury as one component in gold processing being used mostly by small-scale miners can be very toxic. If not properly treated, it could contaminate waterways, farms, and plants. When people eat vegetables contaminated with mercury it could go up to their bloodstream and block the flow of blood and oxygen resulting to death.

"The establishment of the processing plant will also help economic activity in pro-people and pro-environmental ways through responsible mining," he added.

According to Aton, the gold processing plant in Lagangilang being constructed by the Three Kings 2040 Mining, Inc. was issued Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) Number CAR 1401-00-10.

Meanwhile, Provincial Board member Leonard Andanan said the SP has come up with an ordinance allowing a centralized provincial mineral disposal area and processing plant with certain conditions. One is to close the plant any moment if it is proven detrimental to the environment.

Carmelita Bersalona of the Abra Peace Conveners' Group and lawyer Russell Bragas of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples reacted on the lack of transparency in the establishment of the gold processing plant in Lagangilang. (Ginalyn Brioso)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 03, 2014.

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