MGB eyes higher gold and silver production

Published November 25, 2021, 12:33 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is eyeing increased production in gold and silver amid plans to fast-track the declaration of more Minahang Bayan areas across different parts of the country.

In a statement, MGB, an attached agency to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said it is working “diligently on the formalization and declaration of the new Minahang Bayan” areas.

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“With MB [Minahang Bayan] very much in the scene, we are optimistic that gold, silver, and chromite production will rise,” the government agency said.

To dated, there are 43 formally declared Minahang Bayan areas in the Philippines, 13 of which are in Luzon, three in Visayas, and 27 in Mindanao.

MGB said there are currently 170 pending applications for new Minahang Bayan areas across different parts of the country.

A Minahang Bayan is an area in the Philippines where small-scale mining (SSM) operations can legally operate. Holders of a Minahang Bayan permit only have two years to operate upon obtaining government clearance, but they are allowed to renew.

Commodities found in Minahang Bayan areas are limited to gold, silver, and chromite.

During the first nine months of the year, only gold and nickel direct shipping ore registered growth in production, while the rest, namely silver, copper, chromite, iron ore, etc., all had lower output.

Gold was valued at P37.75 billion, accounting for 31 percent of the total and combined metals output of the country. Its total production stood at 13,356 kilograms, which was higher than the 12,973 kilograms registered during the first nine months of 2020.

Copper, on the other hand, contributed 10 percent or P11.74 billion of the total metals output, while silver, chromite, and iron ore rounded up less than 1 percent of the total production, valued at around P840 million combined.

In July of this year, the government declared two Minahang Bayan areas in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) covering a combined mining area of 50 hectares.

This was more than a year since MGB decided to improve the regulation of SSM operations in the country by imposing stricter conditions on the disposal of their residual stockpiles.

This directive from MGB was implemented through Department Administrative Order 2019-19 (DAO 2019-19), which is meant to speed up the environmental restoration both during and after mining operations by a Minahang Bayan.

“We understand the negative view of mining, but we want the public to know that mining is not the same as it was before the Mining Act of 1995,” MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano said in an earlier report.

“The MGB is always working to improve the regulations on mining, to safeguard environmental protection, and protect the community,” he added.

 
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