SMALL scale miners in the Cordilleras will soon use environment-friendly equipment for gold and copper extraction.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Cordillera Regional Director Dr. Victor Mariano said the Integrated Gold-Copper Mineral Processing pilot plant in the region will be ready for the first testing this month.

“The pilot testing of the equipment should be on February 14, but because of the typhoon, some works were delayed but rest assured the pilot testing will be done later this month,” Mariano said.

The project is an environment friendly alternative process of extracting gold from ores which will use flotation or gravity concentration technologies.

“This technology will help small scale miners recover more gold at a low cost. At ito pa ay environment- friendly kaya mababawasan na ang paggamit ng mercury at cyanide na nakakasama sa ating kalusugan,” Mariano added.

Mercury and cyanide are used to dissolve or separate gold from ores. These chemicals are dangerous to the environment and could be fatal to humans and animals.

“Kapag pwede na itong project natin, it will benefit miners of Benguet pero siyempre mauuna ang mga taga-Itogon kasi mas malapit sila,” Mariano added.

Mariano clarified there will be certain fee for them to utilize the equipment.

“May babayaran sila pero konti lang at hindi sila sa amin magbabayad kundi sa federation kasi sa kanila naman yun. And also mining companies can purchase the equipment if they want but they have to pay for the appropriate royalties,” Mariano said.

The P36-million project funded by DOST will be granted to the small scale miners’ federation after a series of tests that will ensure the project works properly.