BETTER Mine Project, a non-cyanide and non-mercury plant for gold and copper extraction in Nabunturan, is set to be launched in November and is scheduled for turnover by June 2018.
The project, which costs around P50 million including the equipment and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is in partnership with the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Compostela Valley (Comval) Provincial Government, Nabunturan Municipal Government, and the local government units of the three barangays that are under the existing Minahang Bayan of Nabunturan, the Nabunturan Integrated Mining Development Cooperative and Compostela Valley State College.
“It does not use cyanide or mercury in the extraction. So it’s just physical processes. It will become a common service facility for small scale miners who want to extract gold from their ores,” said DOST-Davao Regional Director Anthony Sales, adding the facility is already 95 percent complete.
Sales said currently there are still small-scale miners that use cyanide or mercury in mining.
With the Better Mine Project, DOST intends to convince these miners to use the technology instead of the destructive technologies they are using for lesser impact to the environment and to the community.
“We’re promoting the technology as a responsible mining technology or a green technology, if you can call it that, as an alternative to the existing technologies being used by small scale miners,” he added.
The Minahang Bayan is a legal, centralized mining area for small scale miners in Nabunturan located in three barangays. Ores extracted from this area will be processed at Better Mine.
Sales said the technology was first developed about two years ago and was initially planned to pilot in Benguet. After a proposal of Comval to also be included in the pilot testing, it was approved together with Bicol and Caraga.
After the launching in November, the technology will undergo a three-month field test.
“Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy plans that they would be the one to operate and manage. It will serve as a showcase to all the other areas in Comval. Hopefully, when everyone has accepted this, many plants similar to this will also be established,” he said.
Uy added that the project is really intended for small scale miners as they are the ones using cyanide and mercury in mining while the bigger scale miners have technologies that are already acceptable and compliant with the laws.