Envi group launches safer gold processing facility

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Sunday, May 25, 2014


LUZON-based environmental group Ban Toxics launched the first mercury-free gold processing facility last week in Mount Diwata, Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

Evelyn L. Cubelo, Ban Toxics programme manager on artisanal and small scale gold mining, said during Friday's Kapehan sa Abreeza at Abreeza Mall that the facility will be utilizing the Benguet Method, an indigenous technology in Benguet that utilizes gravity and borax to extract the gold.

She said the facility cost around P150,000, which can accommodate eight small scale miners a day.

"The facility has a recovery rate of 70 percent compared to the 40 percent to 50 percent recovery rate of using mercury," Cubelo said.

Aside from the higher recovery rate, she also said the facility is also safer, considered as the first mercury-free gold processing facility they have established in Mindanao.

She said the facility will help convince small-scale miners to shift from the use of mercury to a mercury-free method.

Cubelo said they will be bringing trainers, who are also miners, to train local miners at Mount Diwata on the method who will, in turn, train more miners.

She said they will continue to look for a much more effective and safer technology for gold processing.

In a press release, the facility was made possible through the support of the Global Environment Facility and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environment and Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), Department of Health, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 26, 2014.

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