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Price of Gold Mercury Use and Other Issues in ASGM - January 2011
 

Price of Gold Mercury Use and Other Issues in ASGM - January 2011

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Price of Gold Mercury Use and Other Issues in Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM)...

Price of Gold Mercury Use and Other Issues in Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM)



Ban Toxics! also owes it to all the small-scale gold miners
who took time to grant interviews and share their insights and concerns. To them we give our profuse thanks.

Ban Toxics!

January 2011

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    Price of Gold Mercury Use and Other Issues in ASGM - January 2011 Price of Gold Mercury Use and Other Issues in ASGM - January 2011 Document Transcript

    • The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in the PhilippinesBan Toxics!26 Matalino St., Suite 329 Eagle CourtDiliman, Quezon City, Philippines 3018 www.bantoxics.orgTele Fax: +63 2 355 7640 Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 1
    • The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Philippines By Ban Toxics! January 2011 Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNCBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 2
    • Acknowledgments Ban Toxics! is very grateful to the following organizations and individuals for their invaluable support and assistance: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) particularly Director Juan Miguel Cuna, Elvira Pausing, RD Gilbert Gonzales of Region V, RD Paquito Moreno of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Engr. Alex Luis (CAR), Dr. Eva Ocfemia, Engr. Henry Lopez, Engr. Anton Vinias, Glen Alcala, Goldwyn de Leon (Region V), Engr. Tess Tagorda and Noli Alvarez (Region XI); DENR-MGB Mining Technology Division, Engr. Allan Tayag and Engr. Andres Linsangan; Engr. Ana Trinidad Rivera of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health, Gov. Ed Firmalo of Romblon and his staff, the municipal officials of Paracale and Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, Engr. Arnel Book, Juancho Collamar of Aroroy, Masbate, barangay officials of Mt. Diwata, Compostella Valley headed by Franco J. Tito and other barangay officials namely Ricardo Godoy, Leo Apitana, Daniel Rojay, Baldomaro Luz and Joseph Josana; Josie Guillao of Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, Engr. Lomino Kaniteng and Leoncio Na-oy of Benguet Federation of Small-scale Miners, Itogon, Benguet and Fank Panogaling of Talacagay, Hinobaan, Negros Occidental, Buck Pago and Luis Liwanag; Dr. Emy Perez of Ateneo Professional School, Emilio F. Paz of Pook Mirasol Center for Appropriate Technology, Jaybee Garganera, Rodne Galicha and Fr. Archie Casey of Alyansa Tigil Mina, Manny Calonzo of EcoWaste Coalition and Merci Ferrer of Healthcare Without Harm; Brenda Koekkoek of UNEP, Susan Keane of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Michael Bender of Mercury Policy Project, Dr. Kevin Telmer of Artisanal Gold Council, Dr. Peter Appel of GEUS, and Elena Lymberidi-Settimo of European Environmental Bureau/Zero Mercury Working Group Campaign (for the Lumex); Ban Toxics! also owes it to all the small-scale gold miners who took time to grant interviews and share their insights and concerns. To them we give our profuse thanks. Finally, to our families for the late nights and the weekends lost, we owe you – BIG TIME. May this humble work help us better understand the complex issues surrounding artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and contribute in bringing to fruition our vision for a mercury-free ASGM in the Philippines.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 3
    • Financial Support The study was made possible through the generous support by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and by the Takagi Fund for Citizen Science (TFCS). Photo Credits Many thanks to Luis Liwanag and SSNC for the images used in the report. Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are copyright of Ban Toxics! Disclaimer The study has been researched and prepared by Ban Toxics!, with all reasonable care and due diligence. Copyright rights are owned by Ban Toxics. The study does not necessarily reflect the views of NRDC, SSNC and TFCS, and Ban Toxics is entirely responsible for its accuracy. Any third party who rely on information contained in this report, or their own interpretation thereof, do so at their own risk.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 4
    • Executive SummaryArtisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) presents acomplex development issue. While it provides livelihood to asignificant number of people worldwide and accounts for asizeable volume of annual gold production, it is also confrontedwith various grave environmental, social and health concerns.The sector is also known as the largest emitter of mercury. Theglobal mercury treaty which is currently being developedthrough a series of intergovernmental negotiating committeemeetings seeks to incorporate ASGM elements to reduce andmove towards elimination of mercury use in the sector and toprotect human health and the environment. While the terms ofthe global pact are being considered, parallel efforts areunderway to encourage migration of miners to mercury-freegold liberation techniques.The Philippines is in the process of formulating its NationalStrategic Plan on reducing mercury use in ASGM with supportfrom the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Tosupplement this initiative, Ban Toxics conducted a study on theinner workings of ASGM focusing, among others, on the trading,use and emission of mercury, gold mining and productionmethods, and the human health and environmental impacts ofmercury pollution. Ban Toxics found out that the problem ofmercury pollution in the Philippines is widespread and thatunless and until urgent and drastic steps are carried out tocontain its further discharge into the environment, the effectswill be disastrous. It also noted the sector’s growing shift frommercury to cyanide and the increasing attempts to move toother mercury-free gold production technologies.Gold and Mercury TradingThe Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has established five (5) goldbuying stations nationwide to purchase gold at London spotprice. However, due to the distance of these buying stationsto most small-scale mining communities and the difficulty ofminers to meet certain criteria set by the bank, a significantportion of their production ends up in the black market.Mercury supply for ASGM relies primarily on importedmercury which enters the Philippines either legally or,predominantly through illegal channels. The known sourcesof mercury for gold mining in the Philippines are the UnitedStates, European Union, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Italy andKyrgyzstan. The exemption of dental amalgam in theapplication of the requirements for Chemical Control Orderfor mercury has resulted in the importation of greaterquantities than is actually needed for dental uses and theproliferation of dental clinics that supply mercury for goldmining. In some mining areas, mercury is available in retailstores from P4 to P10 per gram. Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 5
    • Mercury Use in ASGM Mercury use in ASGM in the Philippines is said to have started from 70s to 80s. At present, ASGM accounts for the annual discharge of 70 metric tons of mercury into the atmosphere. The amount of mercury used by miners to produce a unit of gold varies depending on the stage when amalgamation is practiced. Whole ore amalgamation utilizes 10 to 25 grams of mercury to produce a gram of gold. Amalgamation of retrieved concentrates, on the other hand, uses about one to three grams of mercury per gram of gold. ASGM activities utilizing mercury has been reported in about 20 provinces in the country. Since ASGM is a poverty-driven activity, the ease of using mercury and the desire of miners to immediately produce income to bring food to the table has been identified as the main reasons why mercury use has become widespread in the sector. Environmental and health impacts of mercury pollution from ASGM Several studies have been carried out in the Philippines to probe the effects of mercury pollution from ASGM. Results of these investigations reveal that drinking water and river systems have exceeded recommended water quality criteria due to mercury contamination, marine species such as mollusks and fishes have mercury levels that are more than the allowable limit, while people that were examined, mostly children, miners and their families exhibited symptoms of mercury intoxication. ASGM Legal and institutional framework Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining is principally governed by Presidential Decree 1899 and Republic Act 7076, also known as the People’s Small-scale Mining Act. Other laws such as Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, however, carry provisions that have relevance to ASGM. ASGM has been devolved to provincial and city local governments by virtue of Republic Act 7076 and the Local Government Code of 1991. Under Republic Act 7076, issuance of mining permits and licenses and the establishment of minahang bayan shall be the responsibility of the Provincial or City Mining Regulatory Board, a multi-sectoral body which shall be under the supervision and control of the Secretary of the DENR. While most sectors decry the non-implementation of the important provisions of Republic Act 7076, others complain about the statute’s irresponsive and antiquated provisions, which accordingly discourage them to formalize their operations. A review of the extant laws governing ASGM, plugging of the perceived legal loopholes and harmonization of conflicting provisions must therefore be undertaken to strengthen the legal regime governing ASGM in the Philippines and encourage miners to legalize their operations. Formalization of miners facilitates monitoring of ASGM activities, better enforcement of ASGM laws and eventually, improved practices in the sector.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 6
    • RecommendationsThere is no silver bullet that can adequately address thecomplex issues surrounding ASGM in the Philippines. Careshould be taken to understand the specific ASGM areas, theneeds of the community and its goals for development beforeany effective intervention can take place.Considering these constraints, to rationalize ASGM activitiesand improve governance of ASGM operations, these broadstrategies, mechanisms and potential solutions to variousASGM concerns may be considered: 1. Stop the global supply flow of mercury by putting an end to primary mining of mercury through effective international treaty mechanisms.. 2. Prohibiting the trade and use of mercury and mercury compounds in all sectors in the Philippines. 3. Provide technical support to ASGM in: a. exploration and delineation of mineral deposits; b. mineral inventory for extraction at the small-scale level; c. identifying areas that can be set aside by the provincial or city mining regulatory boards as People’s Small Scale Mining Area; and d. studying gold ores properties to determine mercury- free gold liberation techniques 4. Provide needed working capital, credit facilities and suitable mining equipment or processes to ASGM; 5. Organize and strengthen ASGM formal groups to reduce and eventually eliminate exploitation of miners; 6. Develop coherent national policy on mining and streamline regulatory and administrative procedures to remove barriers for formalization; 7. Strengthen local mining regulatory boards; and 8. Increase awareness of toxic effects of chemicals, such as mercury, to miners, their families and affected communities.Ban Toxics also recommends for the government and civilsociety to initiate a dialogue to find out how and to whatextent does ASGM fit in national development. Oftentimes,ASGM is linked with sustainable development, but no concreteconsultation with mining and other stakeholders have takenplace to define ASGM’s role. Currently the serious social,health and environmental costs that accompany small-scalegold mining are externalized and borne by communities andlocal governments where these operations occur. Anyserious discussion of the benefits of ASGM and its role innational development must be weighed by these externalcosts that are often ignored.Efforts towards internalizing the external costs of goldproduction must be carried out before we seriously considermainstreaming ASGM into the national development agenda. Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 7
    • Acronyms & Abbreviations ASGM - Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining BOE - Bank of England BSP - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas CMRB - City Mining Regulatory Board CCO - Chemical Control Order CIL - Carbon-in-Leach CIP - Carbon-in-Pulp DAO - Department Administrative Order DENR - Department of Environment and Natural Resources DMC - Department Memorandum Circular DOH - Department of Health DOLE - Department of Labor and Employment DOST - Department of Science and Technology DTI - Department of Trade and Industry EMB - Environmental Management Bureau EO - Executive Order EU - European Union GDP - Gross Domestic Product GEUS - Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland IEC - Information, Education, Communication INC - Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee LGU - Local Government Unit LSGM - Large Scale Gold Mining MGB - Mines and Geosciences Bureau MROD - Mint and Refinery Operations Department (MROD) NCIP - National Commission on Indigenous Peoples NIPAS - National Integrated Protected Area System Act PCU - Project Coordination Unit PD - Presidential Decree PLGU - Provincial Local Government Unit PMRB - Provincial Mining Regulatory Board PSSMA People’s Small-scale Mining Area QSP - Quick Start Program RA - Republic Act SAICM - Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management SSMC - Small-Scale Mining Contract SSMP - Small-Scale Mining Permit Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNCBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 8
    • SSNC - Swedish Society for Nature ConservationTFCS - Takagi Fund for Citizen ScienceTWG - Technical Working GroupUN - United NationsUNEP - United Nations Environment ProgrammeUNIDO - United Nations Industrial Development OrganizationWB - World BankWHO - World Health Organization Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 9
    • Table of Contents Introduction 15 Objectives, context and methodologies 1. Objectives 16 2. Context 16 3. Methodologies 16 ASGM Overview Background 18 ASGM Definition 19 Classification of ASGM miners 19 ASGM Gold production 19 Gold trading structure 20 Mercury use in ASGM 21 Why miners use mercury 21 Mercury trade structure 22 Local trading of mercury 22 Estimated amount of mercury use and release from ASGM 23 Gold extraction and processing techniques 1. Sluicing 24 2. Amalgamation 24 3. Cyanidation 24 Refining 25 Environmental and health impacts of mercury pollution from gold mining A. Mercury’s toxic threats 26 B. Philippine studies on mercury and its effects 26 Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNCBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 10
    • ASGM and mercury legal and institutional frameworks1. Laws and policies on Small-scale mining 292. Allocation of mineral lands 303. Laws and policies on Mercury 314. Related laws and regulations a. National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 (Republic Act 7586) 31 b. Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (Republic Act 9147) 31 c. Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 (Republic Act 8371) 31 d. Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7942) 31 e. Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (Republic Act 9003) 31 f. Clean Air Act of 1998 (Republic Act 8749) 32 g. Clean Water Act of 2004 (Republic Act 9275) 32 h. Pollution Control Law of 1976 (Presidential Decree 984) 32 i. Local Government Code of 2001 (Republic Act 7160) 32Basic structures and socio-economic conditions ofASGM miners1. Profile of ASGM study sites a. Luklukan Sur, Jose Panganiban, Camarines, Norte 33 Gold and mercury trading 33 b. Gumaus, Paracale, Camarines Norte 33 Gold and mercury trading 34 c. Tugos, Paracale, Camarines Norte 34 d. Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya 34 e. Acupan Village, Itogon, Benguet 35 Gold and mercury trading 35 f. Aroroy, Masbate 35 Gold and mercury trading 36 g. Sitio Libertad, Talacagay, Hinobaan, Negros Occidental 36 Gold and mercury trading 37 h. Mt. Diwata (Diwalwal), Monkayo, Compostella Valley 37 Gold and mercury trading 37 i. Magdiwang, Romblon 38 Gold and mercury trading 38 Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNC Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 11
    • 2. Profile of ASGM miners 38 3. System of cooperation 39 4. Location of ASGM Study Sites 40 Assessment of the extent of mercury contamination in ASGM sites 41 Samples collection 41 Analysis of Samples 41 Results 42 ASGM issues and concerns 45 A. Environmental impacts 1. Deforestation and landscape destruction 45 2. Contamination of water bodies due to cyanide and mercury pollution 45 3. Soil erosion and siltation 45 4. Biodiversity loss 45 5. Loss of soil productivity 45 B. Social and health problems 1. Unregulated migration in mining areas 46 2. Land tenure and resource use conflicts 46 3. Limited access to health and basic services 46 4. Exposure of miners to occupational health and safety hazards 46 5. Exploitation of workers 46 6. Absence of social security benefits for miner-labourers 46 7. Cases of mercury poisoning and high levels of mercury among miners and their families 46 Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNCBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 12
    • C. Legal, enforcement and institutional problems 1. Weak and non-operational mining regulatory boards 47 2. Costly and difficult permitting and licensing process 47 3. Ineffectual enforcement of small-scale mining and other related laws 47 4. Small-scale mining companies undertaking large-scale operations 47 5. Need for LGU strengthening for effective local mining governance 47 6. Uncontrolled ASGM activities in protected and watershed reservation areas 47ASGM stakeholders: Getting their acts together a. Miners, ASGM communities and adjacent villages 49 b. DENR/EMB/MGB 49 c. Local government units 49 d. Department of Health 49 e. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas 49 f. Department of Trade and Industry 50 g. DOLE - Occupational Health and Safety Hazards Division 50 h. Church and other non-governmental organizations 50 i. PMRB 50 j. Gold and mercury traders 50 k. Large-scale mining companies 50Mercury Risk Reduction Efforts 51Alternatives for cleaner gold production 52 1. Mercury Reduction Method a. Retort 52 b. Use of fume hood 52 c. Mercury reactivation via electrolysis 52 2. Mercury-free techniques a. Centrifugal method 53 b. Magnetic sluice 53 c. Shaking sluice 54 d. Gravity concentration 54 e. Cyanidation 54 Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNC Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 13
    • 3. Refining a. Direct Smelting 54 b. Use of borax 54 Removing barriers to cleaner gold production 55 Conclusion & Recommendations Conclusion 56 Recommendations 1. Technical 56 2. Financial 57 3. Business/economic 57 4. Legal/regulatory 57 5. Institutional 58 6. Health and safety 58 7. Education 58 Annexes 1. Philippine provinces with known gold deposits 59 2. Location of ASGM in the Philippines 60 3. Provinces with reported mercury use in ASGM 61 Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNCBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 14
    • IntroductionConstant surge in the price of gold and lack of The international community has been takinglivelihood opportunities especially in rural areas notice of the problems wrought by global mercurymake artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) pollution. World leaders have been training theiran attractive enterprise for a large number of sights towards fostering concerted internationalpeople especially the poor who often embrace the actions to deal with mercury’s worldwide use, thrisks associated with the trade in the hope of emissions and discharges. Hence, during the 25escaping from poverty. ASGM, which occurs in UNEP Governing Council Meeting in Februarymore than 70 countries, provides income to an 2009, the participating governments agreed toestimated 10 - 15 million miners including 4.5 form an international negotiating committee 1million women and 1 million children .The sector which effectively launched negotiations on aproduces about 500 to 800 tonnes of gold per legally-binding international mercury treaty. Theannum, which accounts for about 20 to 30 percent treaty, which has ASGM as one of its key elements, 2of the world’s gold supply . This production is expected to be completed at the fall of 2013.however comes with great cost to both theenvironment and human health. Behind these While negotiations on the details of the mercurylofty figures are tales and trails of razed treaty are initiated, parallel steps to restrict andmountains, distorted landscapes, contaminated reduce mercury use are carried out. The Unitedwater bodies and miners exploited and exposed to Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), foroccupational and health hazards. ASGM is also instance, has embarked on activities towardsclosely linked with the global emission of mercury building and strengthening ASGM partnerships– a toxic persistent global pollutant. The sector is and has initiated measures to help controlknown to discharge at least 10003 tonnes of mercury use and emissions. It has establishedmercury per year, including 400 tonnes directly to regional projects in South East Asia, particularlythe atmosphere4. Among the various regions, Asia Philippines and Cambodia under the Quick Starthas become the largest contributor of Programme (QSP) of the Strategic Approach toanthropogenic atmospheric mercury, accounting International Chemicals Management infor over half of the global emission5. The unabated cooperation with a number of interested partners.mercury release in ASGM as a consequence of One of the projects under the QSP is thepoor practices poses serious long-term health and development of country strategic plans for ASGMenvironmental hazards not only within the mining which is designed to help improve practices andcommunities but also in adjacent regions. working conditions in the sector and enhance the quality of life of ASGM communities.The fact that mercury is one of the mostdangerous health and environmental pollutantscannot be disputed. It is a potent neurotoxin thatimpairs brain function. Pregnant women, babiesand young children are most susceptible tomercury’s toxic effects. High levels of mercuryexposure have been correlated to loss ofcoordination and memory, lower intelligence andhearing loss. It has also been linked to miscarriagesand birth defects.Artisanal and small-scale gold mining thus presentsa complex development issue fraught withintertwining challenges and opportunities. Ifconducted in a manner that is consistent with acommunity’s development goals and with dueregard to health, social and environmentalconsiderations, the sector can generate significanteconomic benefits and in the process help ease ortransform the negative impressions linked with it. Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNCBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 15
    • Objectives, context and methodologies1. Objectives 2. ContextThe research aims to supplement the SAICM ASGM in the Philippines employs a large numberinitiative of developing a National Strategic Plan of people in the countryside with low level offor Mercury-Use Reduction in the Artisanal and incomes. Some mining operations are familySmall Scale Gold Mining in the Philippines. The enterprises, where women and children arestudy will focus on investigating and uncovering actively involved in certain stages of goldthe inner workings of ASGM in an attempt to production. Most small scale gold miners operateprovide a contemporary picture of the state of informally, that is, without licenses or permits andsmall-scale gold mining in the Philippines. often outside the reach of government rules and regulations. With the increase in gold prices andThe research specifically seeks to: discovery of new gold rush areas, more people are lured into gold mining; hence, the number ofa. Generate relevant data and information from miners may continue to increase in the coming previous studies and modestly attempt to years. establish the current state of ASGM in the Philippines; Most small-scale miners in the Philippines areb. Review existing laws on ASGM and mercury operating without legal mining titles and often in management, assess the extent of their areas where there are apparent conflicts with implementation and determine gaps for policy other resource competitors. Most mining formulation or reform; communities also have either no or little access toc. Examine current mining practices and clean water or basic health care services and are evaluate their viability taking into account susceptible to break out of diseases. economic, health and environmental concerns; Mercury use in ASGM remains widespreadd. Determine facilitating as well as hindering although cyanide is an emerging alternative. Small- factors for small-scale miners to adopt scale gold miners usually work with minimum and recommended alternatives; often completely without safety protection ande. Follow the trail of mercury in ASGM by pollution control measures. Most tailings ponds investigating its source and its disposal; are discharged directly in rivers and streams. Lackf. Establish new data on health impacts of of capital also force most mine workers to deal mercury pollution as well as the extent of with local financers under terms dictated by the mercury contamination in fishes and in latter, often placing the workers on the losing end determined critical sites through fish, air, and of the bargain. sediment sampling; andg. Identify key players and their roles in the The Philippines is replete with laws and ASGM sector regulations governing small scale gold mining. However, the seeming culture of tolerance andResults of the study will also be used in developing hands-off policy adopted by both the national andinformation and training manuals and as basis for local governments has rendered ineffectual theBan Toxics to determine critical points of enforcement of these laws and regulations.intervention to hasten migration towards reducedor mercury-free gold liberation techniques. Despite its many dangers, and notwithstanding the apparent lack or absence of an established andThe research also attempts to verify extent of sustained support programs from the government,mercury pollution in 4 small-scale mining areas the lure of gold and the lack of economically viablearound the Philippines, focusing on water, soil, alternatives for small-scale gold miners will allowfish, and mercury vapor. the industry to thrive, and so with the problems associated with it.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 16
    • 3. MethodologiesField research was undertaken in selected ASGMsites to gather information on the current goldextraction and processing techniques, the socio-economic conditions of small-scale miners,mercury and gold trading mechanisms, ASGMstructures, and local perceptions on the impacts ofmercury use as well as other informationnecessary towards building a better understandingof the ASGM situation on the ground.Samples of fish, sediments and water werelikewise collected for laboratory examinationfollowing recommended protocols to determineextent of mercury contamination especially incritical areas.The research also analyzed mercury vapor incertain ASGM sites utilizing a Lumex mercuryvapor spectrometer to create a broader picture interms of mercury contamination in the selectedASGM sites.Prior to actual fieldwork, a review of relatedliterature and other materials culled from primaryand secondary sources, e.g. web research,newspaper accounts and interview with officialsfrom several agencies and other key stakeholderswas done. The process has generated acomprehensive background information and fairunderstanding of the complex issues surroundingthe industry.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 17
    • ASGM OverviewBackgroundThe Philippines is endowed with rich mineral in some parts of the country. In Northern Luzon, itresources. About 30 percent of its territory has was reported that traditional miners use woodenbeen identified to have high potential of mineral pickaxes tipped with iron in chipping the ore in thedeposits. Gold is one of the most important. Based tunnels. The ores are manually crushed until it ison density of deposits per one-square-kilometer reduced to powder, then washed into the streamsland area, the country is ranked third in the world. where the gold dust or grains were recognized byIn 2009, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) their gleam in the sunlight10. In Camarines Norte,of the Department of Environment and Natural nineteenth century mines were described to beResources (DENR) estimated the country’s gold consisting of shafts or wells dug to depths of 120 6reserves at 5,080,785,289 tons , based accordingly feet or more with the use of pickaxes and shovels,on the bureau’s consolidation of resource wooden wedges and bamboo scaffolding. Coconutinventory data supplied by mining companies. oil lamps were used as lights while baskets wereGold deposits have been reported in about 40 used in bringing up quartz ore. The ores areprovinces7. crushed in a wooden pestle or between rolled logs. Crushed ores are washed in shallow sluices orTable 1. Philippine Gold Resource/ Reserve pans using a fixer, and then smelted with lime Inventory, 2009 made from seashells11. In Mindanao, small miners recover gold from river beds by using wooden goldRegion Tonnage Ave. Grade (g/t) pans . 12 I 861,000 0.46 II 33,236,000 1.88 It is said that modern mining commenced in the III 34,820 1.92 country during the early part of the 20th century IVA 6,551,280 1.93 with the introduction of American technology and IVB *NDA *NDA capital. From the American period to the 80s, gold V 271,016,095 1.45 production steadily increased, although it VI 338,400,000 2.53 experienced sharp decline during the Second VII *NDA *NDA World War. The mining industry struggled from VIII 132,800 11.40 the mid 80s to the 90s when large scale-mining IX 30,660,304 0.96 slowed down operations although it experienced a X 1,073,000 5.28 brief boom in the late 80s when small scale mining XI 898,122,300 1.23 and gold panning activities escalated in various XII 2,180,000,000 0.24 regions of the country. XIII 327,707,085 1.04 CAR 992,990,605 3.30 At the height of gold rushes from the late 80s toTOTAL 5,080,785,289 1.353 the 90s, mercury amalgamation was widely *NDA – No Data Available practiced. Mine tailings laden with mercury wereSource: Mines and Geosciences Bureau indiscriminately discharged to the environment. In recent years, however, the advent of cyanidationGold mining is said to be an ancient industry in the and the increasing cost of mercury have reduced,Philippines. Even before and during the Spanish albeit insignificantly, mercury releases from thecolonization in the 14th century, gold used to be an sector. The growing demand for gold which luredimportant barter and trade commodity. Gold small-scale miners to produce more gold withinmining in the Philippines can be traced back in the the fastest time possible still presents mercury3rd century when Chinese traders referred to amalgamation as an attractive option, especiallyLuzon as the Isles of Gold8. During this period, for those engaged in subsistence mining.communities in Cordillera, Masbate, andCamarines Norte dug for gold and traded the The amount of mercury used by miners variesprecious metal for their household needs with depending on when it is applied during the goldChinese merchants9. production process. For every gram of gold produced, miners practicing whole oreSpanish explorers have also chronicled amalgamation utilize about 10 to 25 grams ofconventional mining methods among small minersBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 18
    • mercury while those who practice amalgamation Classification of ASGM minersafter grinding use about one (1) to three (3) grams. Republic Act 7076 defines small-scale miners asThere is yet no authoritative estimate as to the Filipinos who voluntarily form a cooperative dulyactual number of people engaged in small-scale licensed by the Department of Environment andgold mining in the Philippines. Studies however 13 Natural Resources to engage in the extraction orsuggest that there are about 200,000 to removal of minerals or ore-bearing materials from 14300,000 small-scale gold miners nationwide, the ground19. Under its implementing rules andwhich includes close to 18,000 women and regulations, however, small-scale gold miners in 15children . ASGM also supports directly and the Philippines may be classified as traditional andindirectly the livelihood of about two million gold rush miners.people. Traditional gold mining employs indigenousASGM Definition methods and is carried out by communities or tribes for collective benefit and somewhat self-The definition of artisanal or small scale mining regulated by social norms and ritual while goldvaries from country to country because of the rush mining attracts poor migrants and others whodifferent set of criteria or parameters used. For work at site until it is exhausted then move on todecades, experts worked to devise universal other gold rush area20. Some authors however trydefinitions of “artisanal” and “small-scale” mining to distinguish the two types of miners by assertingbut were unable to reach a consensus16. Artisanal that gold rush miners use chemicals such asand small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is however mercury and cyanide while traditional miners dopopularly referred to as mining activities that use not.rudimentary techniques in extracting minerals,most commonly gold, by miners working in small- The requirement for small miners to secure permitsized operations. or license before they operate has practically rendered most small-scale mining operations inIn many countries, artisanal mining and small-scale the Philippines illegal. The prohibitive cost and themining are often used interchangeably. However, demanding procedures to gain formal operationthe two are not without distinction. The former have dissuaded small-scale gold miners to applyhas often been regarded as purely manual and on for permits. Other miners are not simply aware ofa very small scale while the latter has some existing laws governing small-scale mining. Datamechanization and is on a larger scale. obtained from the MGB shows that as of December 2007, there were only about 33 permitsThis distinction is not relevant in the Philippines in issued to small-scale gold miners covering moreview of the legal definition provided by Republic than 400 hectares gold mining areas21.Act 7076, also known as the People’s Small-scaleMining Act of 1991. The law describes small-scale ASGM Gold productionmining as mining activities which rely heavily onmanual labor using simple implement andmethods and do not use explosives or heavy 17mining equipment . Section 1 of PD 1899specifically defines the limits of ASGM operationby allowing small-scale contractees to mine up to20 hectares per permit and extract up to 50,000metric tons of ore per year.Nonetheless, the current legal definition of small-scale mining in the Philippines has been thesubject of criticism by various sectors, claiming itto be outdated, irresponsive and unduly deprivingthe small miners the opportunity to expand theirproductive capacity. There is now a growingclamor for the review and updating of the small-scale mining laws, citing the need to allowsubsistence miners to use power tools in order to ASGM activities currently take place in more thanbeef up their gold-digging capacity and improve 30 provinces. For the past 10 years, thetheir income18. Philippines’ average annual gold production wasBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 19
    • reported at 36,457 kilos, putting the country and its offices in the cities of Baguio, Naga, Davaoconsistently in the list of top twenty gold and Zamboanga.producing countries in the world. About 28 tonnesor close to 80 percent of the country’s annual gold Gold produced by small-scale miners which meetsupply comes from the artisanal and small-scale the criteria are sold directly at the MROD or atgold mining sector. In 2009, Philippine ASGM BSP’s buying stations which in turn bring them tocomprised about 10 percent of ASGM global MROD for refinement and conversion into Londonproduction. The volume could be higher but since gold delivery bars. Some of the gold may also bemost of small-scale gold mining is operated manufactured into semi-finished material in thewithout license, some of their production is form of grains and sheets for re-sale to localunreported or unofficially accounted. jewelers and industrial users. The BSP may enter into a location swap transaction so that bars heldLarge-scale mining companies on the other hand, in the bullion vault may be mobilized and madeare given the right to sell gold directly onto the readily available for gold-related transactions ininternational market without intervention from the international market23. 22the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas , hence totalproduction from the sector cannot likewise be Due to the difficulty of small scale gold miners toaccurately ascertained. meet the standards set by the bank, and their distance to the gold buying centers, they sell theirTable 2. Philippine Annual Gold Production gold to independent buyers and jewelers at a (kilograms) lower price. Small- Large-Year Total Scale Scale1997 31,199 14,062 17,1371998 34,038 19,859 14,1791999 31,050 17,045 14,0052000 36,540 21,193 15,3472001 33,841 22,656 11,1852002 35,848 27,993 7,8552003 37,843 31,473 6,3702004 35,464 29,473 5,9912005 37,488 32,117 5,3712006 36,141 29,361 6,7802007 38,792 31,193 7,599 In Compostella Valley province for instance, about2008 35,568 28,198 7,370 60 percent of ASGM production is believed to be2009 37,047 26,112 10,935 24 diverted into the black market . In Benguet province, it is said that at least 40 percent areSources: U.S. Geological Survey Minerals Yearbook; traded outside BSP. Accordingly, they are either Mines and Geosciences Bureau; Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas sold to jewelers or illegally transported out of the country, hence, not included in the production report.Gold trading structure In determining the price of gold, the miners merelyPursuant to RA 7076, the Bangko Sentral ng rely on the information supplied by local goldPilipinas has established gold buying stations. dealers. They first ask at least three local goldAlthough gold is purchased in Philippine pesos, the dealers to know the prevailing gold price. Othersprices are competitive with those prevailing in the use cellular phones while others watch Bloombergworld. Gold sold to BSP must however conform to Channel to determine latest gold price. In thecertain conditions set by the bank as to physical international market, gold units are mostlyform, maximum dimension, weight and minimum reflected in troy ounce. In the Philippines, troyassay. It bears noting, however, that Republic Act ounce is converted into grams. Price of gold per7076 provides that BSP buys gold from ASGM gram depends on gold grade or “carat”. The termregardless of volume or weight. BSP’s current gold "carat" is used to describe the purity of gold and isbuying stations include the Mint and Refinery based on a total of 24 parts, where pure gold isOperations Department (MROD) in Quezon City known as 24 carat and those with lower caratsBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 20
    • have other metal components like copper or 1925, amalgamation was the main technique forsilver25. gold recovery worldwide, and it was common in the United States until the 1940s26. With theGuidelines on BSP’s Gold Buying Program development of cyanide leaching process for gold extraction, most miners abandoned mercury1. Physical Form amalgamation. a. Bar or disc (grains, powder, nuggets and flakes are not accepted) b. Should not contain mercury or amalgam in Small-scale mine operators in South America, Asia any quantity and Africa, however, still resorted to c. Should be free of slags and other foreign amalgamation because they lack affordable matters d. Should not bear any sign of metallic alternative technologies. Widespread use of segregation or poured shortness mercury in the Philippines is reported to have occurred from 70s to 80s.2. Maximum Dimension a. Bar Form: 9 inches long, 4 inches wide and 2 inches thick In 2002, small-scale gold mining activities utilizing b. Disc Form: 4 inches in diameter and 2 mercury have been recorded in at least ten inches thick provinces namely: Benguet, Camarines Norte,3. Weight Negros Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, a. Minimum weight of 200 grams per piece Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte, b. Maximum of approximately 300 troy ounce Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Davao del or 9.3 kilograms per lot c. Maximum weight of bar/disc shall be 64.30 Norte27. There are also recent accounts of mercury troy ounce or 2 kilograms. use among the small-scale miners in Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Oriental Mindoro, Compostella Valley,4. Minimum Assay: 30% per lot Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Romblon and SouthSource: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Cotabato.In the Philippines, gold carat is determined byusing a weighing scale where the gold’s weight inair and weight in water are first determined. Thegold’s weight in air is then subtracted with itsweight in water. The difference is divided withweight in air. The quotient will be the specificgravity. The specific gravity indicates gold carat,the value of which is specified in a chart providedby BSP to accredited gold traders. In some parts ofthe country, local gold dealers use an ordinarystone where gold is rubbed after which nitric acidis poured on the scratched area. If no mark is seenor is hardly recognizable, the gold is of low caratbut if the mark is very visible, the gold is of high Why miners use mercuryquality. Their indigenous appraisal system hasaccordingly been proven accurate when tested There are plenty of reasons why mercury use iswith weighing scales. widespread in ASGM. One of the principal reasons cited by miners is that mercury produces quickMercury use in ASGM money for their family’s daily subsistence, after which, they can still bring their mine tailings toOne of the earliest accounts of mercury use in the cyanide processing plants for further recovery ofmining industry was recorded in 2700 B.C.E in gold. Another reason mentioned is that mercury isSpain where the substance was used to easy to use. There is no technical training requiredamalgamate and concentrate precious metals. to use it, it is easily transported from place toMercury amalgamation became widespread by the place, there is no need for large equipment, and isRomans in 50 C.E. In 177 C.E., however, the use of perceived to be highly effective at capturing goldelemental mercury for gold recovery was banned under field conditions. Mercury is also veryin mainland Italy, possibly in response to health accessible and cheap. They can either buy mercuryproblems caused by this activity. at retail stores or source it out from gold dealers. Apparently, the input cost for mercury isGold extraction using mercury was widespread minuscule considering that it costs only P4 to P10until the end of the first millennium. From 1860 to per gram while gold prices can be as high asBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 21
    • P1,800 a gram. Other reasons cited are lack of According to reports, most countries import muchawareness of the risks of mercury use and lack of greater quantities of mercury than is actuallyknowledge of mercury-free gold production needed for legal uses. The excess amount is sold toalternatives. unsustainable practices such as ASGM through the black market. As the liquid metal passes throughMercury trade structure brokers on its way to a gold mine, it becomes very difficult to track. A flask of mercury can originateBecause of its unique properties, mercury is used in Spain, make its way to major trade hubs likein a wide range of products and processes. The Singapore or Hong Kong and then get dumped inidentified sources of mercury include residual Indonesia or Philippines. Mercury also enters inmercury from decommissioned chlor-alkali the country legally, usually for dental use.facilities, recycled or recovered mercury fromwastes and mercury products, primary mercury Local trading of mercuryfrom mercury mines and by-product mercury fromother resource extraction operations.28 Most of Based on local interviews with mercury tradersthese substances are mined in Algeria, China, and miners, Manila is the main source of mercurySpain, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Spain, once a for gold mining while Baguio City, Bacolod City,leading producer of mercury from its centuries-old Davao City, Zamboanga City and Paracale,Almaden Mine, stopped mining in 2003, and Camarines Norte are the secondary sources orproduction is from stockpiled material. In the distribution hubs.United States, there are mercury occurrences inAlaska, Arkansas, California, Nevada, and Texas;however, mercury has not been mined as aprimary metal commodity since 1992 hencemercury originating from the country comes fromleftover stockpiles. The United States is the leadingexporter of mercury29.In the Philippines, mercury mining also occurred inthe province of Palawan from 1955 to 1976producing 140 tons annually. Since its closure,however, the country’s mercury supply reliesprimarily on imported mercury.Most of the mercury flask reaching the miners donot reveal their sources, raising suspicion that theymay have been shipped into the country illegally,more so that mercury trade for gold mining hasaccordingly gone underground in the last five to 30ten years and is very secretive . The knownsources of mercury for gold mining in thePhilippines are the United States, Italy, Saudi The exemption of dental amalgams in theArabia, European Union, Algeria, and Kyrgyzstan. application of the requirements for Chemical Control Order for Mercury has resulted in the proliferation of dental clinics that supply mercury for gold mining. In fact, interviews with local miners revealed that mercury is sourced out mostly from dental clinics, which aside from supplying the substance, also operate as gold buyers. In some mining areas, mercury is available in small mom and pop stores from P4 to P10 per gram. Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNCBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 22
    • Estimated amount of mercury use In 2007, an investigation made by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and theand release from ASGM Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainable Development approximates five (5) tons of annualSeveral attempts have been made to estimate mercury emission from small-scale miningannual mercury release from the industry. In 2008, communities in Zamboanga del Norte anda mercury inventory assessment conducted by the Camarines Norte. According to the assessmentPhilippines revealed that one of the principal made by the Department of Health that wassources of mercury emissions come from primary submitted to the UNEP in 2001, small-scale goldvirgin metal production, primarily from small scale mining in Northern Mindanao alone emits 140 31mining of gold and silver . tons of mercury annually. Studies also show that in the early 90s, the small-scale gold mining sector Table 3. Total Mercury Output or Emissions per accounted for 25 tons of mercury release Category (kg Hg/year) annually32 while another study reveals that between 1986 to 1988, about 140 tons of mercury Mercury was released into the environment from 53 mining Category Emissions % (kg/yr) communities33. Primary Virgin Metal Production 74,769 31.95 Extraction and Use of Fuel and 47,862 20.45 Energy Resources Other intentional use- 46,653 19.93 thermometer, etc. Wastewater 29,685 12.68 Consumer products with 22,717 9.71 intentional use of mercury Intentional use of mercury in 8,400 3.59 industrial processes Production of other minerals with 2,415 1.03 mercury impurities Crematoria 1,530 0.65 Total 234,031 100Source: Associated Mercury Plan of the Philippines; DENR-EMB, August 2008Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 23
    • Gold extraction and processing One of the gold processing techniques frequently employed by traditional miners is the use of sluice box. This method uses gravitation by letting the ore pass through a sluice, made of wood or concrete which is covered with materials, such as jute, carpet or corduroy cloth, which captures the gold grains when the ore and water mixture passes the sluice. The cloth is subsequently washed in a basin to recover the gold and other grain particles collected, which afterwards are panned to separate the gold from other particles.Artisanal and small-scale gold mining in the 2. AmalgamationPhilippines takes several forms: surface,underground and underwater. Surface mining is Amalgamation which involves the use of mercurydone along river beds and streams while is practiced in several ways. Miners who practice whole ore amalgamation feed mercury in the millsunderground mining requires digging up of tunnelsto extract gold-bearing ores. In some mining immediately after the ores have been reduced intodistricts in Camarines Norte, gold-bearing alluvial fine particles. The rod mill is then turned on againdeposits are extracted through compressor mining for about an hour where mercury accordinglywhere the miners descend muddy waters using a “captures” the gold. The mercury-ore mix are thenplastic hose attached to a compressor and tucked removed from the drum and placed on a largeinside their mouth for artificial air. basin, then transferred to a washing pan where water is added to retrieve the mercury that isThere are also notable shifts both in the source of believed to be loaded with gold. Some miners, ongold ores and the technology employed to extract the other hand, first segregate the concentratesthem. In the early 70s, the primary target of small either by panning or gravity concentration beforescale miners was alluvial placer gold. Recovery was applying mercury.mainly through direct panning or by crude sluiceboxes. In the 80s, high grade veins werediscovered triggering series of gold rushes. Minersthen shifted from surface mining to undergroundmining where vein ores are accessed throughtimbered adits, tunnels or stopes. The use ofmechanized rod mills or ball mills, mechanicalcrushers, electric drills and cyanide processingplants became prevalent34. It is also said thatminers use explosives inside the tunnels.1. Sluicing Mercury retrieved is squeezed using a piece of cloth to separate it from the gold. The remaining amalgam is blowtorched in a clay pot. 3. Cyanidation Another method of recovering gold is through the carbon-in-leach, carbon-in pulp and heap leach systems where cyanide solution is used to dissolve the gold from the host rock. Carbon in leach method takes place for over 15 days after which the ore is run through a zinc oxidation process toBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 24
    • extract the gold. This method is predominantly Refiningpracticed in Benguet. Most of the gold initially produced by artisanal miners is considered raw or impure. Hence, they employ various techniques including the use of chemicals to purify them. A great number of miners in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya and in Itogon, Benguet use borax while burning the recovered gold particles to remove impurities. If the desired gold quality is not attained, gold is treated with a nitric acid. Most miners in Paracale and Jose Panganiban in Camarines, Norte use nitric acid to upgrade gold quality.Carbon-in-pulp technique is much faster in thesense that gold can be recovered within 72 hoursby strongly agitating the mixed concentrates.Under this method, after the gold ore has beengrounded into fine particles, lime and water arefed into the cyanide tank. After agitating the feedfor about eight (8) hours, cyanide is added. Afteranother eight (8) hours, activated carbon isapplied. About 20 hours later, carbon is said tohave captured the gold. It is then harvestedthrough airlift using an air compressor. Aluminiumor zinc dust is then added to the gold cyanidesolution, after which, concentrated acid is addedto dissolve the aluminium or zinc, leaving behindthe solid gold.Heap leaching is one of the methods widely usedto process recovered mine tailings in Benguet aftergold is initially retrieved using gravitationalmethod. Under this method, lime and tailings areplaced in a tub with a filter at the bottom made upof small pebbles and sacks. Water with cyanide isadded and after two (2) days, the tub is drained.The solution is then treated with zinc, then withnitric acid.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 25
    • Environmental and health impacts of mercury pollution from gold miningMercury’s toxic threatsMercury is one of the most toxic metals known to from delays in speech and motor development toman. It has five characteristics of concern. First, mental retardation, reflex abnormalities and 37as an element it can neither be created nor seizures . Guatemala and Pakistan havedestroyed by any chemical means, thus it persists experienced similar poisonings.in the environment. Second, mercury is able totravel long distances. Third, mercury is volatile, In the Philippines, 96 students exposed to 50 gmparticularly elemental mercury which evaporates elemental mercury after a mercury spill allegedlyat a rate of 7 µg/m3/hr at 20°C (Andren and occurred in their class experienced fever, itchyNriagu 1979). rashes, difficulty in breathing, chest pain and body malaise38. One student succumbed to ravages ofFourth, mercury bioaccumulates in the food chain, mercury poisoning and has exhibited Parkinsonismand becomes increasingly concentrated at higher and nerve damage.levels. Lastly, mercury is toxic to humans andwildlife. Mercury poisoning can lead to skin There are also documented cases of mercuryirritation, fever, headaches, nausea, irritability, poisoning in some ASGM sites.fatigue, loss of speech and memory, decline insensory ability blindness, depression, kidneydisease, tremors, brain damage, serious birth Philippine studies on mercury anddefects and even death. its effectsThe most popular case of widespread Several studies have been conducted to probe themethylmercury poisoning occurred in Minamata, effects and impacts of mercury pollution due toJapan in 195635. For about thirty years, a local small-scale gold mining in the Philippines.industry had dumped around 75 to 150 tonnes ofmercury into Minamata Bay poisoning fish and In 2008, a report which summarizes more than 30thousands of people. Hundreds of people died years of fish mercury research in Davao gulf,and many more were crippled for life. It was showed that mercury lowers children’s IQ levelsreported that an abnormally high number of for life. The report also demonstrated that fetuseschildren experienced symptoms similar to and babies are particularly harmed by mercury incerebral palsy and autopsies of the developing fish35.brains of those affected in the mercury tragedyshow widespread damage to all areas of the In 2007, a paper presented during a scientificbrain. In the mid-60s, methyl mercury poisoning conference in Davao City revealed that mercury-also occurred in Niigata, Japan with 47 cases and tainted water from Diwalwal mining site which 36 drains into the Agusan River poses a serious threat6 deaths reported . to the inhabitants. It was also reported that testsPresently, more Minamata victims are coming made on weekly diets of rice, fish and mussels offorward to press their case before the Japanese people in mining areas revealed the presence ofgovernment, primarily descendants of the first mercury three times over the permissible levels36.generation of Minamata victims showingsymptoms of Minamata disease. This trend In September 2006, the Department of Healthappears to indicate that the Minamata Disease can presented in the conference on Chemical Safetybe transferred down to succeeding generations. for Sustainable Development in Budapest, Hungary the health and environmental risk assessmentDuring the 1970s, about 500 Iraqis died while made among communities near an abandonedthousands were disabled for life after eating bread mercury mine especially those whose diet includesmade from mercury-treated grain seeds. Offspring consumption of marine or aquatic products37. Theof pregnant women who ate contaminated bread study was carried out in Honda Bay and Palawanduring pregnancy exhibited symptoms ranging Bay and in villages near an abandoned mine thatBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 26
    • was in operation for more than 20 years. The in the rivers exceeds the Toxic Effects Thresholdassessment unveiled the following: for the Protection of Aquatic Life by factors of up to 55 and 166, respectively. Mercury levels in rice 38 a. Four (4) fish species had exceeded the and other food crops were found to be within recommended total mercury and appropriate safety standards. Nevertheless, if fish methylmercury levels in fish while two (2) or shellfish from either river are used as part of a fish species namely saging and kanuping staple regular diet, weekly intake levels of mercury had exceeded the permissible levels for (or methylmercury) may exceed WHO guidelines, methylmercury. with possible negative consequences on human b. While total and methylmercury in canned health. fish, total mercury in rice, ambient air and drinking water were within the Part of the study commissioned by UNIDO was the recommended levels, additional mercury examination of the mine workers from Diwalwal load from these sources may contribute and in the impact barangays in the lowland area of to the over-all body burden of mercury Monkayo. The miners were found to exhibit severe among residents in the area. symptoms of mercury intoxication such as fatigue, c. Surface water quality at the mining area, tremor, memory problems, restlessness, loss of Honda Bay and Palawan Bay exceeded weight, metallic taste and sleeping disturbances. total mercury standards at NV>0.002 People from the lowland area of Monkayo and ng/ml. surrounding barangays, on the other hand, d. Soil samples in Tagburos village and complained of headache, vision problems and Honda Bay exceeded the EPA Region 9 nausea, other symptoms which could be related to Primary Remediation Goal recommended mercury. Of the workers tested, 55 percent of the values for total mercury for residential ball-mill workers and 61 percent of the amalgam purposes at NV>23 mg/kg. smelters were found to have mercury levels above e. Statistically significant results were toxicological threshold limits. obtained for infants when comparing the methylmercury levels in hair for both The finding of the UNIDO study in the Naboc River exposed and control sub-groups. Basin was later re-confirmed by the assessment Likewise, comparing the initial and final carried out by the Department of Environment and hair methylmercury levels among Natural Resources in 2009. According to its report pregnant women/mothers in the exposed on the geological and bio-physical characteristics group showed statistically significant of the Naboc River Basin, the water quality of the (p<0.05) results. watershed is categorically critical because of its high mercury content39.A 2005 study made by the Davao Regional Officeof the Department of Health (DOH) estimated that In February 2000, Dr. Hirokatsu Akagi of the13.5 metric tons of toxic mercury from ASGM flow National Institute for Minamata Disease (NIMD)annually thru rivers into the Davao Gulf. collected blood specimen samples from 49Examination of fish samples from Davao Oriental, residents of Aroroy, Masbate to determineDavao del Sur and Davao City markets also mercury levels in their bodies. Results ofrevealed that they have mercury contents higher laboratory examination showed that 35 out of 49than the allowable limit of 0.3 microgram per or about 71 percent have elevated mercury levelgram. which is beyond the normal level of 6.5µg/l.In 2000, a study was commissioned by the United In 1999, the Department of Health, inNations Industrial Development Organization collaboration with the UP-National Poisons Control(UNIDO) to investigate the effects of mercury and Information Service investigated the extent ofcontamination in regions affected by the mining mercury exposure among schoolchildren inoperations in Diwalwal, Monkayo, Compostella Apokon, Tagum, Davao del Norte, a communityValley. Results of said study showed that mercury whose staple diet includes fish mostly cominglevel from the Naboc River, the major river system from the nearby village in Pantukan which isdraining the operations in the gold rush area actively involved in small-scale mining. Theexceeds all drinking water quality criteria as well investigation found out high levels of mercuryas recommended water quality criteria for the among schoolchildren examined, attributed mostlyprotection of aquatic organisms and their uses. to their simultaneous exposure to inorganic and 40The investigation also reported that mercury methyl mercury . Of the fish species collected andconcentration in bottom and suspended sediment examined, three (grunt, gopher and tuna) wereBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 27
    • also reported to have exceeded the WHOenvironmental criteria for mercury concentrationsin fresh water fish from non-polluted areas. Arelated study conducted by DOH among goldminers in Kingking, Pantukan, Compostella Valleyalso revealed that mercury levels in blood samplestaken from miners as well as soil and watersamples taken from the river exceeded theexisting WHO standards.The assessment conducted by the Department ofEnvironment and Natural Resources on the impactof gold mining in Murcielagos Bay in Sibutad,Zamboanga del Norte also found out that the bayexceeded the allowable mercury limit for seawaterand that stations nearest in proximity to themining area tend to acquire higher concentrationsin water, sediment, suspended particulates andorganisms. Four out of 10 marine molluscsexamined were also found to have as much as afactor of 5 more than the allowable limit41.A study on mercury contamination associated withsmall-scale mining in Benguet also noted that theseven subbasins of the Upper Ambalanga Riverand the subbasins immediately downstream areexperiencing secondary mercury contaminationfrom the small-scale gold mining and processingplants. The subbasins were found to havesediments containing total mercury concentrationshigher than the estimated geogenic concentrationof 0.060 µg/g. Results of the study also showedthat Acupan, Dalicno and Batuang subbasins arethe most contaminated and that the mainAmbalanga River downstream from the sevensubbasins is more than ten times as contaminated 42by mercury based on the geogenic estimate .An attempt to quantitatively assess the economiccost of minimizing mercury pollution was made bythe Philippine Institute for Development Studies in1999. Site visits and interview with miners weredone in Panique, Aroroy in Masbate, Tugos,Paracale in Camarines Norte and Diwalwal,Monkayo in Compostella Valley as study sites.Using the defensive expenditure approach in theeconomic valuation of mercury, the authorsestimated that about PhP933.5M or less than abillion pesos is required annually for the purchaseof protective equipment and facility to control theoccurrence of future mercury pollution in small-scale mining in the country43. The estimate wasmade on the assumption that there are 250,000small-scale gold miners in the Philippines, where215,000 of them are involved in processing.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 28
    • ASGM and mercury legal andinstitutional frameworksThe Constitutional mandate for the State to issued in 1984, prompted by the government’sprotect and promote the right to health of the recognition of the increasing economic impact ofpeople and protect and advance their right to a the small-scale mining sector. The decree wasbalanced and healthful ecology has paved the way intended to develop small mineral deposits,for the enactment of environmental and health generate income for the poor and alleviate thelaws and regulations and the involvement of the living conditions in the rural area. It requires thePhilippine government to a number of relevant holders of mining rights to secure small-scaleinternational agreements. mining permits/licenses which shall be valid for two years and renewable for like period. HoldersIn addition to environmental and health of permits/licenses are exempt from the paymentconsiderations, small-scale gold miners have to of all taxes, except income tax. Under PD 1899,deal with issues pertaining to the ownership, applications of small-scale miners are processedallocation, exploration, development and with the Director of the Mines and Geo-sciencesutilization of natural mineral resources. Bureau.There is a growing call for the enactment of new To further promote, develop, protect andlaws to strengthen the legal regime for artisanal rationalize small-scale mining activities, theand small-scale gold mining in the Philippines in Philippine Congress passed in 1991 Republic Actorder to plug the perceived gaps of extant laws 7076. The law requires, among others, thegoverning the same and to ensure that the best establishment and implementation of a People’sinterests of small-scale gold miners and their Small-Scale Mining Program to achieve an orderly,families are promoted. The clamor, it is said, was systematic and rational scheme for the small-scaleimpelled by the popular perception that while the development and utilization of mineral resourcesnational government seeks to revitalize the mining in certain mineral areas and address the social,industry by providing incentives to large-scale economic, technical, and environmental concernsmining companies, small-scale gold miners connected with small-scale mining activities.continue to grapple for survival amidst threats of Republic Act 7076 did not repeal PD 1899. It onlydisplacement and the persistent issue of amended and supplemented certain provisions ofenvironmental and health risks associated with the latter.improper mining practices. Republic Act 7076 also recognized the role ofA review of the legal and regulatory framework Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in strengthening theaffecting ASGM in the Philippines was undertaken small-scale gold mining industry by mandating it toto get a better understanding of the legal and establish gold buying stations where goldinstitutional policies governing the sector. produced by small-scale miners shall be sold at prices competitive with those prevailing in theLaws and policies on small-scale world market regardless of volume or weight.44 Other salient features of the law include:mining a. Creation of a Provincial/City MiningThe principal laws governing small-scale mining in Regulatory Board which shall bethe Philippines are Presidential Decree 1899 which composed of the Department ofestablished small-scale mining as a new dimension Environment and Natural Resourcesin mineral development, and Republic Act 7076 representative as Chairman; and thewhich aims to promote, develop, protect and representative of the governor or cityrationalize viable small-scale mining activities, mayor, as the representative of thegenerate more employment opportunities and governor or city mayor, as the case mayprovide an equitable sharing of the nations wealth be, one (1) small scale miningand natural resources. representative, one (1) big-scale mining representative, and the representativePresidential Decree 1899, the first known law to from a non-government organization whogovern small-scale mining in the Philippines wasBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 29
    • shall come from an environmental group, other laws. Areas already covered by small-scale as members. miners are also closed for mining applications b. Declaration of People’s Small-scale unless prior consent of the small-scale miners is Mining Areas and awarding of Small-scale obtained. mining contracts by the Board subject to certain criteria and conditions. Allocation of mineral lands c. Registration with the Board of all persons undertaking small-scale mining activities. Mining involves extraction of natural mineral d. Securing the consent of the cultural resources. Under the so-called regalian doctrine, communities concerned and giving all natural resources, including natural mineral priority to cultural communities in the resources, are owned by the State45. As the owner, award of small-scale mining contracts. the State may pursue full control and supervision e. Prohibition on the transfer, in the exploration, development and utilization of subcontracting or assigning of small-scale the country’s natural mineral resources either contract through direct undertaking or by entering into co- f. Establishment of a small-scale mining production, joint venture, or production-sharing protection fund which is equivalent to 15 agreements. The declaration of State ownership percent of the national government’s over these resources and the different schemes by share of the internal revenue tax or which they could be managed were designed to production share due the government. guard against (1) alien ownership, (2) control of a large amount of a resource by a few, and (3)While small-scale mining activities continue to be regulation of large commercial extractivegoverned by Presidential Decree 1899 and 46 ventures . The Constitution vests in the ChiefRepublic Act 7076, Republic Act 7942, also known Executive the power to enter into agreements withas the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 carries foreign-owned corporations involving eitherprovisions which have direct and indirect effect on technical or financial assistance for large-scalemercury pollution and on the operations of small- exploration, development, and utilization ofscale miners. Republic Act 7942 exempts from real 47 minerals . It also grants Congress the power toproperty tax and other taxes and assessments allow small-scale utilization of natural resources bypollution control devices established by mining Filipino citizens.contractors while it penalizes firms causingenvironmental damage through pollution. It also The power of Congress to allow small-scaleimposes fees for mine wastes and tailings. The law utilization of natural mineral resources has beenlikewise requires small-scale mining permit holders delegated to the Provincial and City Miningand contractors to secure an environmental Regulatory Boards (P/CMRB) by virtue of Republicimpact report, a final mine Act 7076. Under this law, only the P/CMRB is withrehabilitation/decommissioning plan, compliance legal authority to issue small-scale mining permitscertificate from the regional offices of the DENRs and contracts, thus effectively withdrawing fromEnvironmental Management Bureau and submit a the Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau thepotential environmental and a community exercise of said power. RA 7076 is also thedevelopment and management programme governing law pertaining to the procedures and(CDMP) duly approved by DENRs Mines and requirements for the processing and issuance ofGeosciences Bureau. small-scale mining permits.Republic Act 7942 also lists down areas where Republic Act 7942 grants the President the powermineral agreement or financial or technical to establish mineral reservations, when theassistance agreement applications are not national interest so requires and upon theallowed. The areas include, among others, those recommendation of the Director of Mines andcovered by valid and existing mining rights, old Geosciences Bureau through the DENR Secretary.growth or virgin forests, proclaimed watershed In mineral reservation areas, the State, throughforest reserves, wilderness areas, mangrove the DENR may directly undertake exploration,forests, mossy forests, national parks, development and utilization or enter intoprovincial/municipal forests, parks, greenbelts, agreements with qualified entities48. These entitiesgame refuge and bird sanctuaries as defined by may include small-scale mining groups.law and in areas expressly prohibited under theNational Integrated Protected Areas System Republic Act 7942 was the legal anchor used by(NIPAS) under Republic Act No. 7586, Department the national government in issuing ProclamationAdministrative Order No. 25, series of 1992 and No. 297 declaring 8,100 hectares located inBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 30
    • Monkayo, Compostela Valley as mineral a. National Integrated Protected Areasreservation area to prevent the further System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 (Republicdegradation of the environment and to resolve the Act 7586)health and peace and order problems spawned bythe unregulated mining operations in the area. The law punishes the following acts within thePursuant to Proclamation No. 297, the DENR Protected Area: (a) Dumping of any wasteSecretary issued DAO No. 2002-18 declaring an products detrimental to the protected area, or toemergency situation in the Diwalwal Gold Rush the plants and animals or inhabitants therein; (b)Area and ordering the stoppage of all mining Squatting, mineral locating, or otherwiseoperations therein. Subsequently, the State, occupying any land; (c) Constructing orthrough the DENR, undertook directly the mining maintaining any kind of structure, fences oroperations of the Diwalwal Gold Rush Area and enclosures, conducting any business enterpriseawarded mining contracts to qualified mining without a permit; and (d) Leaving in exposed orentities. unsanitary conditions refuse or debris, or 49 depositing in ground or in bodies of water .1. Laws and policies on Mercury The establishment, disestablishment or theRepublic Act 6969, also known as the Toxic modification of boundaries of protected areas maySubstances, Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes only be made pursuant to an act of Congress.Control Act of 1990 provides the legal frameworkfor mercury in the Philippines. The law deals with b. Wildlife Resources Conservation andthe regulation, restriction or prohibition of the Protection Act (Republic Act 9147)importation, manufacture, processing, sale,distribution, use and disposal of chemical Republic Act 9147 which took effect in 2001substances and mixtures that present penalizes the dumping of waste productsunreasonable risk and/or injury to health and the detrimental to wildlife, mineral exploration and/orenvironment. DENR Administrative Order 1992-29, extraction in critical areas50.the statute’s Implementing Rules and Regulations(IRR), include mercury and mercuric compounds c. Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of(D407) in the table of prescribed hazardous waste.Republic Act 6969 and its IRR prescribe a general 1997 (Republic Act 8371)regulatory framework as procedures andrequirements for hazardous waste management in Republic Act 8371 grants the indigenousthe Philippines, prohibit the entry, transit and peoples/indigenous cultural communitiesdisposal of hazardous wastes into the Philippine (IPs/ICCs) the right to develop their lands andterritory and encourage proper management of natural resources, to safe and clean air and water,hazardous wastes through minimization, recycling, to regulate the entry of migrants into theirtreatment and landfilling of hazardous waste. domains and to protect their indigenous cultures, traditions and institutions. Unlawful intrusionTo further control the use and dispersion of upon any ancestral lands or domains is punished inmercury and mercury compounds into the accordance with the customary laws of the IPsenvironment, the DENR issued Administrative concerned.Order No. 97-38 or the Chemical Control Order(CCO) for mercury and mercury compounds. The d. Ecological Solid Waste Managementorder provides for additional requirements and Act of 2000 (Republic Act 9003)procedures in the importation, manufacture,distribution and use of mercury and mercury Republic Act 9003 includes household hazardouscompounds. It also lays down certain conditions in wastes (which include mercury-bearing andthe treatment, transport, storage and disposal of mercury-containing waste) within the category ofmercury-bearing or mercury-contaminated wastes special waste. This type of wastes are required toin the Philippines. be segregated at source, properly stored and treated prior to disposal. Republic Act 90032. Related laws and regulations requires local government units to designate in their sanitary landfills a containment area for special wastes. The law prohibits the open burningOther laws and regulations that have direct and of solid wastes.indirect relevance to small-scale mining andmercury use and emissions are the following:Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 31
    • e. Clean Air Act of 1998 (Republic Act Government Code of 1991. Section 17 thereof 8749) specifically mandates provinces to discharge the functions and responsibilities of national agenciesRepublic Act 8749 provides for a comprehensive and offices devolved to them, and to exercise suchair pollution program which includes the other powers and discharge such other functionsimplementation of air quality standards. Under the and responsibilities as are necessary, appropriate,law and its IRR, incineration, or the burning of or incidental to efficient and effective provision ofmunicipal, biomedical and hazardous wastes, a the basic services and facilities which include,process which emits poisonous and toxic fumes, is among others, enforcement of forestry lawsprohibited. The Act likewise mandates the DENR to limited to community-based forestry projects,promote the use of state-of-the-art, pollution control law, small-scale mining law, andenvironmentally-sound, and safe non-burn other laws on the protection of the environment.technologies for the handling, treatment, thermaldestruction, utilization, and disposal of sorted,unrecycled, uncomposted municipal, bio-medicaland hazardous wastes.f. Clean Water Act of 2004 (Republic Act 9275)Republic Act No. 9275 was enacted to provide fora program and regulations for the abatement andmanagement of water pollution focusing onpollution prevention. The Act designates the DENRas the primary government agency responsible forits enforcement and implementation, moreparticularly over all aspects of water qualitymanagement. It grants the DENR the jurisdictionover all aspects of water pollution, to determineits location, magnitude, extent, severity, causesand effects and other pertinent information onpollution, and take measures, using availablemethods and technologies, to prevent and abatesuch pollution.g. Pollution Control Law of 1976 (Presidential Decree 984)Presidential Decree 984 prohibits the disposal intothe water, air and/or land resources of thePhilippines of any liquid, gaseous or solid wastesthat will tend to alter their physical, chemical andbiological properties or is likely to create or torender such water, air and land resources harmful,detrimental or injurious to public health, safety orwelfare or which will adversely affect theirutilization for domestic, commercial, industrial,agricultural, recreational or other legitimatepurposes.h. Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160)Enforcement of the provisions of the small-scalemining law as well as the pollution control law hasbeen devolved to provincial LGUs by virtue ofRepublic Act 7160, popularly known as the LocalBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 32
    • Basic structures and socio-economic conditions of ASGM study sitesIn an attempt to better understand the the introduction of leaching or cyanidationconcerns of the ASGM sector Ban Toxics process. Even then, the current practice where 10conducted field visits and interacted with ASGM grams of mercury is utilized to produce one (1)stakeholders in nine (9) mining villages in the gram of gold is still alarming.country. Of the five (5) carbon-in-pulp plants established in1. Profile of ASGM study sites Jose Panganiban, three (3) are found in Luklukan Sur. Gold and mercury trading Mercury used by miners in Luklukan Sur is supplied by gold dealers and hardware stores located in the poblacion barangays of Paracale and Jose Panganiban. Mercury is believed to be sourced out either directly from a pier in Batangas or in Manila. Cost of mercury ranges from 2,400 to 2,800 a kilo. Gold produced by miners have purity ranging from 18 to 22 carats. These are sold to independent gold dealers in Jose Panganiban and Paracale anda. Luklukan Sur, Jose Panganiban, further traded to BSP in Naga City or Quezon City. Camarines, Norte Jewelry makers from Bulacan also seasonally go to Jose Panganiban to buy gold from the miners. GoldThe municipality of Jose Panganiban in the share of mine workers are sold to their financiersprovince of Camarines Norte is formerly known as at a price dictated by the latter, often below the“Mambulao” which was taken from the word prevailing market rate. Prices are monitored by“mambulawan” which means bountiful in gold. the financiers either by watching BloombergThe municipality is composed of 27 barangays and channel every 6:00 in the morning or by asking thehas a population of 49,028. When the gold gold dealers in the town center. In Decemberindustry boomed, other businesses flourished in 2009, price of gold ranged from P1,580.00 tothe municipality, prompting some residents to call P1,842.00 per gram.it the “Little Manila.” b. Gumaus, Paracale, Camarines NorteASGM occurs in eight (8) barangays althoughmining activities is most active in Luklukan Sur More than half of Paracale’s 27 barangays are hostwhere a new rich gold deposit was recently to small-scale gold mining activities although thediscovered. About 800 families in the barangay are bulk of gold production is said to come frominvolved in small-scale mining. Alternative barangays Gumaus, Tugos, Palanas and Malagit.livelihoods include fishing, farming and operating Mining boom in Paracale occurred in the 70s withretail stores. In 1998, the Luklukan Sur Small-Scale the discovery of rich mineral deposits and highMiners Association was formed but was eventually gold quality in Gumaus. Although surface miningdissolved after four years of existence. which has been practiced since the Spanish period is still utilized, tunneling has become prevalent,Small-scale gold mining in Luklukan Sur is said to accordingly introduced by large scale mininghave taken place since the Spanish period. During companies then operating in the area.the field visit in December 2009, there were about150 tunnels and 200 rod mills in the barangay. Gumaus is situated 22 kilometers from the townTailing ponds maintained by rod mill owners are proper. It has a land area of 1,320 hectares, wherereleased in the nearby creeks and eventually end only about four (4) percent is devoted toup in the sea. The use of mercury in gold agriculture. Most residents eke out a livingprocessing has accordingly been minimized with through fishing, farming and gold panning. Half ofBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 33
    • its 3,070 population are gold miners. There used to deforestation in the area. Unlike Luklukan Sur andbe an association of gold miners known as Gumaus which can be reached after negotiatingSamahang Magkakabod ng Gumaus, but this group with rugged terrains, Tugos is very accessible, onlyis no longer active. separated by a concrete bridge from Paracale town proper. The main source of livelihood in theGold-bearing alluvial deposits are also said to be barangay is gold panning and rod mill operation.extracted in the barangay through compressor.During the field visit, it was known that The barangay LGU generates revenues from small-compressor mining is still practiced in Gumaus scale mining operations. Processing plants usingalthough children are no longer engaged in any cyanide are required to pay P1.00 per sack of sandmining activity. tails, while rod mill operators are obliged to pay P100.00 a month. The fees are based on a localThere are less than 100 rod mills in barangay ordinance duly enacted by the barangay council.Gumaus. Tailing ponds from the rod mills, most of The discovery of new gold veins in sitio52 Coloranwhich are overfilled and leaking are discharged in 2009 has triggered another gold rush in Tugos.directly in nearby creeks and mangrove swamps. Tugos has a similar gold and mercury tradingIncidents of child labor used to be common in the structure as that of Gumaus.barangay but this has been drastically reduced,attributed mainly to the implementation of d. Runruno, Quezon, Nueva VizcayaEducation Research Development Assistance(ERDA) Program and the creation of Barangay Quezon is a fifth class municipality in theCouncil for the Protection of Children (BCPC) northeastern part of Nueva Vizcaya. It is locatedwhich paved the way for the establishment of 282 kilometers northeast of Manila and 14Barangay Educational Assistance. Through this kilometers southwest of Bayombong, theprogram, children previously employed in mining provincial capital. Its gateway is through itsare provided with financial and material support neighboring town of Solano. Quezon has a totalfor their education, while keeping them land area of 23,349 hectares with Runruno, itspreoccupied with other worthwhile activities. biggest barangay, covering 6,803 hectares or about 30 percent of the town’s land area. QuezonGold and mercury trading is politically subdivided into 12 barangays. Its 17,487 inhabitants is a mixture of different groupsThere is at present only one registered distributor - Kalanguyas, Bicolanos, Gaddangs, Ifugaos,of mercury in Paracale, Camarines Norte. Visayans and Ilocanos with the latter comprisingHowever, mercury can also be sourced out from the majority.other non-accredited suppliers including hardwarestores and a dental clinic in a nearby town. Barangay Runruno is composed of 12 sitiosMercury can also be bought at P2,400 to P2,800 namely: Dumaliguia, Marangad, Dipilipig, Centro,per kilo. Rod mill owners and processors who also Kinalabasa, Compound, Tayab, Malilibeg,act as local financiers buy mercury at an average of Cabinuangan, Busat, Atan 1 and Atan 2. Based onone (1) to two (2) kilos a month. One the 2007 census, it has a population of 3,110.korporasyon51 in Gumaus can recover up to three(3) kilos of gold annually. The discovery of gold along the rivers of Quezon has triggered a wave of migration into the area inGold purity in Gumaus also ranges from 18 to 22 the 60s and 70s. The Igorots from the Cordilleracarats. These are sold to independent gold dealers introduced gold panning in Runruno.in Paracale town proper. Mine workers also selltheir share of gold to their financiers. Price of gold In October 2008, it was reported that there areis determined by asking the gold dealers in the approximately 2 million ounces of gold and 34.4town center. million pounds of molybdenum in barangay Runruno.c. Tugos, Paracale, Camarines Norte Small-scale miners in the village have organizedBarangay Tugos is said to be once covered with the Runruno Tribal Tunnel Owners and Goldvast forest. Mining operations which dates back Panners Association (RTTOGPA) which serves asduring the Spanish era has however distorted its the umbrella organization of Runruno Landownersonce pristine landscape. The use of timber to Association (RULANAS) and the Bit-ang Residentssupport mine tunnels has also accelerated Association (BRA). RTTOGPA consists of 33 tunnelBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 34
    • owners and small scale workers, 15 ball mill and There are approximately 2,000 miners in thetunnel owners, 17 gold panners and 95 small scale Acupan mining village in Itogon. Most of theseminers within sitios Bit-ang, Malilibeg, Tayab and miners have contracts with Benguet CorporationBalcony. while others operate illegally within the corporation’s mining claims. Gold and mercury trading Benguet produces three (3) tons of gold annually. Despite the establishment of BSP gold buying station in Baguio City, miners still prefer to sell their gold to local jewellers or gold traders. There are more than 120 gold dealers in the city. The Benguet Federation of Small-scale Miners has been actively campaigning against the use of mercury among their members. In spite of this, some miners still clandestinely use the substanceGold and mercury trading during gold amalgamation, utilizing about one (1) to two (2) grams for every gram of gold produced.Small-scale miners in Runruno can extract an Mercury is mainly sourced out in Baguio City whichaverage of 5 to 50 grams of gold per month. Most is about 45 minutes drive from the place. It is alsoof the gold recovered has purity of 17.3 carats. available in local retail stores at P4 - P6 per gram.These are sold to local gold dealers at P1,200 toP1,350 per gram. The local gold dealers in turn f. Aroroy, Masbatetrade them to gold dealers in Baguio City. Aroroy, Masbate is comprised of 41 barangays. It 53Contrary to newspaper reports small-scale has a land area of more than 45,000 hectares andminers in Runruno do not use mercury in the a population of more than 71,000 people. Miningextraction of gold. in the municipality dates back during the Spanish period when early Chinese settlers discovered golde. Acupan Village, Itogon, Benguet nuggets in the river beds. Before the Second World War, a large mining company named MasbateGold mining in Benguet is said to have commenced Consolidated Mining operated in Aroroy. After theeven before the arrival of the Spaniards. For more company ceased operation, Atlas Consolidatedthan 400 years, the indigenous people have been Mining and Development Corporation took overpracticing traditional small-scale mining. In the and carried out mining activities from 1979 until1970s however, mercury use proliferated in the its closure in 1994. In 2006, Filminera Resourcesarea when miners, then working with large mining Corporation implemented the Masbate Goldcompanies resorted to high-grading by mixing Project and operated in areas previously claimedmercury with concentrates and sneak them out of by Atlas. The Project is said to extract gold and 54the tunnels by inserting them inside their anuses . other metals in 443 hectares mining claims covering six (6) barangays: Amoroy, Syndicate,Mining and farming remain to be the main sources Capsay, Panique, Poro and Bangon. It has anof income in the province. About 40 percent of the estimated mine life of 9.5 years. Gold reserve in itspeople rely on gold mining while the other 60 area of operation is estimated at 37.4 million tons.percent are involved in agriculture, tourism andother industries. About 10 percent of the more It is said that small-scale gold mining in Aroroythan 20,000 small scale gold miners in the started in the late 70s. During this period, miningprovince have been formalized. operations were purely manual. Ores were crushed using sledgehammers, then hand milled.Itogon, Benguet is the center of small-scale gold Fine particles pass through a sluice and placed onmining activities in Benguet. It is host to Benguet a large basin. Recovered particles are then pannedCorporation, a large mining company which forged to separate the gold. In the early 80s, miners froma profit sharing arrangement with more than 20 Paracale introduced the use of mercury. In 1986,small scale mining contractors. miners began using mechanical ball mills and rod mills. In 1990s, some miners from Diwalwal migrated to Aroroy and introduced cyanidation.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 35
    • ASGM operations in Aroroy currently take place in rush. About 5,000 miners and their families13 barangays namely Tinago, Jaboyoan, Talabaan, accordingly swarmed this area during the height ofBangon, Poro, Syndicate, Panique, Luy-a, the gold rush, where mercury use was widespread.Concepcion, Balete, Pangle, Manamoc and Capsay. Some areas in Hinobaan also form part of PhilexIt is said that ASGM produces approximately two Gold’s mining claims.(2) kilos of gold a day. Small-scale gold mining isthe main livelihood of most residents, followed by After more than 20 years of gold extraction infarming and fishing. Most of the mills are set up Hinobaan, gold resources have accordinglywithin habitation areas. Women and children also dwindled and so with the number of miners.help in the operation of mills. DENR-MGB estimates the number of active small scale gold miners in these areas to about oneIn 2009, a total of 277 mill owners were hundred. Local interviews with the minersinventoried by the municipal government of however suggest that they number about three toAroroy. There were 25 cyanide processing plants, five times more. Fishing and farming are the main21 of which have been issued with ECC. The sources of livelihood in Hinobaan.municipality has an ordinance imposing regulatoryfees for mill owners and processing plants. Sitio Libertad in barangay Talacagay is about two hours drive from the town proper. There are moreGold and mercury trading than 20 active mine tunnels in the area. Talacagay has more than 200 tunnels, more than 100 ofThere are two ways by which miners recover gold which have been abandoned. Some of the activefrom the ore. First, they employ amalgamation mine tunnels were established in the 80s. Theyafter which they bring the resulting mine tailings were temporarily abandoned during the surge ofto cyanide processing plants for further recovery. insurgency in the area. When peace and order was restored in the late 90s, the miners went back toGold produced from the plant is bought by the Hinobaan and continued extracting ores from theplant owner who in turn sells them to local gold old tunnels. There were reports of mine collapse indealers. Gold is further traded in Bulacan, Manila the area although no miner has been reported toor Cebu. be killed or injured. There are approximately 200 miners in sitio Libertad, mostly migrants.Table 4. Sharing scheme for gold recovered fromcyanide plants: Mercury amalgamation is the most common method used by miners, although cyanidation is Amount of gold Production Sharing (percent) also practiced. Some miners use about 10 grams of recovered (in Owner of Owner of mercury to produce about three (3) grams of gold grams) per sack mine tails processing while others utilize only one (1) gram of mercury plants for every gram of gold. It is said that the gold Less than 0.3 40 60 processing methods were learned from Igorot 0.3 to 0.4 50 50 miners who stayed in Hinobaan during the gold 0.5 to 0.8 60 40 0.9 above 70 30 rush area. Others learned their techniques from the miners from Diwalwal.Most of the mercury used by miners in Aroroy isprovided by local gold dealers with an agreement In spite of its remote location, electric supply inthat the gold they produce shall be sold to the sitio Libertad is uninterrupted. Dynamo is used 24latter. A kilo of mercury costs P3,000 while a gram hours a day to generate electricity for the cyanideof gold is from P1,100 to P1,400. plants and to light the tunnels. Fuel consumption which averages 20 gallons or more a week eats up a large portion of the miners’ gold production cost.g. Sitio Libertad, Talacagay, Hinobaan, Negros Occidental Most of small-scale gold mining operations are financed by local gold traders from Bacuyangan,The municipality of Hinobaan is about 200 Hinobaan. Before dividing the income, 25 percentkilometers south of Bacolod City, the provincial from the gross sale is first withheld by the tunnelcapital. It is made up of 13 barangays with owners, then food and other expenses incurredTalacagay and Bacuyangan serving as host to during extraction and processing are deducted.small-scale gold mining activities. It was actually in The remaining amount is divided equally by thesitio Sangke, barangay Bacuyangan in Hinobaan miners. Tunnel owners earn about P10,000 towhere the deposit of placer gold was firstdiscovered in the early 80s, which triggered a goldBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 36
    • P30,000 a month while the workers receive about The discovery set off a gold rush. During the peakP5,000 to P20,000. of gold mining from the late 80s to early 90s, the barangay’s population swelled to more thanGold and mercury trading 100,000. The unregulated entry of migrants in search of gold has led to lawless violence and poorMiners trade their gold to local dealers in peace and order conditions, making the mountainBacuyangan and Talacagay for P1,300.00 to of gold infamously known as the “wild, wild west.”P1,400.00 per gram. Price of gold is monitored The volatile situation in the area prompted thethrough the Bloomberg Channel or by texting local national government to declare a state ofgold dealers. During the field visit, there are more emergency in Diwalwal. Subsequently, thethan 10 gold dealers in Hinobaan, six (6) of whom national government took over in managingare from Bacuyangan. mining in Diwalwal, granting service contracts to qualified individuals and cooperatives includingMercury is either sourced out from local gold small-scale miners.dealers in barangay Bacuyangan at P15.00 pergram or bought directly from Bacolod City at Gold mining and processing is the main source ofP10.00 per gram. Miners interviewed said they livelihood for Mount Diwata’s close to 50,000utilize about 80 to 100 grams of mercury per people. There are 320 ball mills and 64 mini-month. carbon in pulp plants operating in the barangay. Prior to operation, owners of these plants areh. Mt. Diwata (Diwalwal), Monkayo, required to register in the barangay and pay the required license fees. Each ball mill drum is Compostella Valley charged with a license fee of P384.16. The rates for CIP tanks vary depending on its size and capacity. CIP tanks with capacity to process 5 – 9 tons of ore are charged with P10,000 license fee. Those with 10 – 15 tons capacity and 15 tons above are required to pay P17,000 and P30,000 respectively. There are 75 registered tunnel owners in Mount Diwata. The barangay also imposes a fee of P1,500 per tunnel per operation. Newly opened tunnels are initially charged P500 while big tunnels are charged P5,000.00. The Chair of the Committee onBarangay Mount Diwata which is popularly known Environment is responsible in ensuring the annualas Diwalwal is located 23 kilometers from registration of tunnel owners.Monkayo town proper and about 150 kilometersfrom Davao City. Mount Diwata’s landscape is There is at present a slowdown of mining activitiescomposed mostly of rolling to moderately steep in Mount Diwata. Most of its gold deposits haveterrain. Its elevation ranges from 500 meters to accordingly been exhausted while extraction of1,200 meters above sea level. The vegetation is gold ores from the tunnels has become moredominated by secondary growth forest trees. difficult. Many miners have also moved to a newMount Diwata is composed of 24 puroks, each of gold rush area in the municipality of Maragusan.which is monitored and administratively overseenby a particular barangay kagawad or purok At the height of the gold rush, as much as 20chairman. grams of gold are extracted for every ton of ore. This has accordingly been reduced to about 3 to 5DENR Administrative Order 66 issued in 1991 has grams per ton.placed 269 hectares of Mount Diwata’s 729hectares land area open for small-scale gold Gold and mercury tradingmining. The barangay is part of the 8,100 hectaresmineral reservation area that was established by The purity of gold produced in Mount Diwata is 16virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 297 issued carats or 75 percent raw gold. Local dealers bringin November 2002. the gold in Tagum City for refinement before they are traded either to the Bangko Sentral ng PilipinasGold deposit in Diwalwal was first discovered by a or to the black market. Unrefined gold isnative from the Mandaya tribe in September 1983. purchased locally at P1,130 to P1,230 per gram.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 37
    • Prices of refined gold fetch up to P1,700 per gram. Ores laden with gold are commonly extracted byThere are 15 local gold dealers in the barangay. tunneling into the side of the mountain. However,There is no current estimate as to the annual gold some ASGM miners in the area have begun usingproduction of Mount Diwata. Official estimates open-pit and open-cut mining to retrieve the goldhowever suggest that a total of 2.7 million ounces ores, laying waste to forested and agricultural landof gold has been extracted since the in the area.commencement of mining operations in the area. The most common mining method employed byLiquid mercury is openly sold in local stores at small-scale gold miners in Magdiwang is whole-oreP3,000.00 a kilo. These are sourced out either in amalgamation where it is estimated that 25 gramsTagum City or Davao City at P2,000 per kilo. An of mercury is consumed to produce a gram of gold.inventory made in 2006 reveals that five mercury During amalgamation, miners often mixdealers which were listed either as importer, “calamansi” or small citrus fruit into the rod or balldistributor and end user in Mount Diwata were mill together with laundry detergent.granted in 2003 and 2004 with permission to sellan aggregate of 367 metric tons of mercury. At Mining methods in Magdiwang is said to havepresent, only two mercury dealers are operating been learned from miners from Benguet, Paracale,with Chemical Control Order (CCO). The reduction Diwalwal (Monkayo) and Aroroy, Masbate. In fact,in mercury consumption was attributed to the it was reported that some owners of facilitiesincreasing price of the chemical. actually brought in miners from Masbate in order to teach the local how to better their techniquesThe 2006 mercury inventory55 also suggests that at at extracting gold.least five (5) to 10 tons of mercury is used annuallyfor gold mining in Mount Diwata. A significant Current gold mining practices in the municipalityportion is said to have originated from the have accordingly taken its toll on the people andEuropean Union, notably the Spanish state the environment. Local doctors have reported acompany MAYASA. Based on the containers total of 78 individuals exhibiting skin rashes thatexamined, mercury supply also originates from could be related to reaction to mercury pollutionAlgeria. form the Dulangan River. ASGM in the area has likewise been linked to increased drug use in the h. Magdiwang, Sibuyan, Romblon community, as methampethamine hydrochloride or “shabu” is the drug of choice of among minersMagdiwang is one of the three municipalities working in the tunnels.making up the Sibuyan Island, an ecologically andeconomically important area in the province of Gold and mercury tradingRomblon and famously known for its high rates ofendemism and biodiversity. The island is often Small-scale gold miners in Magdiwang use largereferred to as “the Galapagos of Asia.”The town quantities of mercury to extract gold. Mercuryhas 11,190 hectares total land area and 12,924 supply in the town is believed to be smuggled from(2007) population. Magdiwang is home to Mt. Manila usually through the freight forwarders thatGuiting-Guiting Natural Park, a protected area bring in various goods from the mainland. Mercuryestablished by virtue of Presidential Proclamation is supplied to the miners by the financers andNo. 746 dated February 20, 1996. The town is host owners of facilities. A kilo of mercury into exceptionally clean rivers and waterfalls. Magdiwang is worth P4,500. Gold is sold to local dealers and financers who in turn trade the sameOn top of its rich biodiversity and lush vegetations, to gold buyers in Manila.Magdiwang is also gifted with rich mineralresources. One of them is gold. Since the discovery 2. Profile of ASGM minersof gold deposits along the beds of Dulangan River,small-scale gold mining activities have sprouted in Most small-scale gold miners in the study sites areMagdiwang, particularly in barangays Ambulong, working casually and informally. They often comeDulangan and Ipil. Even barangay Banilad within from communities that have a long tradition ofthe protected area is not spared of illegal mining small-scale mining. Some of them work full-timeactivities. About 3,000 people are reported to be while others are seasonal. They go into mining toengaged in ASGM in the protected area atop Mt. augment the meager income they get fromGuiting-guiting, particularly at the boundary of farming or fishing. Most of them are drawn intoMagdiwang and San Fernando . mining due to economic hardships. They do not have fixed income. The wages they receive dependBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 38
    • purely on luck, or the quantity of gold deposit they In case the miners are unable to raise the fundsare able to extract from the mines. The typical needed for their gold mining operations, they looksalary of a mine worker ranges from P250 to P500 for financiers. The financiers, who are well-offa day. Local financiers, most of whom are mine individuals either within or outside the barangay,owners and processors, on the other hand, earn and mostly local gold dealers and processorsP15,000 to P100,000 a month. themselves, provide the miners with the necessary capital which may be in the form of cash orSome of the mine workers interviewed claim that equipment. Cash advances are also given to thethey have been involved in the trade for more miners for their family’s subsistence while thethan 30 to 40 years, although they have yet to mines are not yet productive. Once goldshow substantial or valuable properties they have production starts, expenses of financiers areacquired from more than three to four decades of deducted before profits are divided. Division oftoil. Some of the miners who are either in their income varies. In some korporasyon, the financierlate teens or early twenties and mostly unmarried gets either two or three times more than thosesaid they have less than one-year gold mining received by the miners. Some generous financiersexperience. They admit to have been drawn into divide the profits with their “players” equally aftermining because of their belief that mining provides deducting the expenses.them with easy money. Others say the job doesn’trequire much qualification. In some sites, miners organize themselves into associations or cooperatives. In Mt. Diwata, 53Occupational hazards ranging from electrocution, mining cooperatives have been organized althoughgas poisoning, and accidents from explosives, only 10 is said to be active at present. Miners incave-ins or shaft collapses, often resulting to injury the barangay are required to form cooperativesor sickness and even death among the miners have before they can be granted service contracts bybeen reported from the mining areas. Miners the Natural Resources Development Councilhowever try to contain information about these (NRDC), a government corporation under theaccidents to avoid further censure from authorities DENR tasked to run and manage the operation ofand pressure from those opposed to their the mineral reservation. In Benguet province, aactivities. total of 64 associations of small-scale miners have been formed. These associations comprise the3. System of cooperation Benguet Federation of Small-scale Gold Miners. One of the small-scale gold mining cooperatives which proved to be beneficial to the member- miners is the Luy-a Balite Concepcion (LUBACON) Agro-Small Scale Miners and Gold Processors Cooperatives in Aroroy, Masbate. LUBACON was organized in 2008 to minimize conflicts arising from overlapping mine claims, which were then prevailing in the area, oftentimes resulting to violent confrontations. Aside from reducing conflicts between and among the miners, the cooperative was accordingly instrumental in the substantial reduction of mercury use among theirGold extraction and processing in ASGM sites can ranks. The cooperative is composed of about 700be carried out collectively where more than two miners from the three mining villages.to ten miners agree to pool their resourcestogether to cover all their expenses during gold The cooperative was also able to acquire 20mining operation. Once they start producing and hectares small-scale mining area from the miningselling gold from their mines, they deduct all their claims awarded to Filminera Resourcesexpenses and divide the profits in accordance with Corporation by virtue of a Memorandum oftheir pre-arranged scheme. Miners in Runruno, Agreement forged with the large mining companyQuezon, Nueva Vizcaya who are party to these in January 2009. The covenant allows thearrangements are called compañeros. This system cooperative to operate in the mining area for twoof cooperation is also known in Camarines Norte years while obliging them to secure the necessaryas korporasyon. permits to legalize their operation. The agreement also requires the initiation by the cooperative of measures to stop or eradicate mercury use.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 39
    • Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 40
    • Assessment of the extent of mercury contamination in ASGM sitesBan Toxics conducted a sampling of soil, water, polyethylene bottles, tightly sealed, and stored inand fish (when available) as well as mercury vapor a cooler equipped with frozen cold packs. Ideally,analysis in the ASGM sites its team of researchers concentrated nitric acid should have been addedvisited. The goal of conducting the sampling aside for preservation and stabilization of mercury.from verifying the extent of mercury pollution However, due to the difficulty of obtaining andfrom the sites was also to introduce these transporting nitric acid, this step was omitted andmethods to the miners and community, and precautions were instead taken to bring samplesendeavor to help them understand and possible to the testing laboratory within 24 hours.use these scientific tools for future studies. SoilSample collection Soil samples were collected near riverbeds, and in uncemented areas near schools. A five-point sampling system was used, wherein a sampling area was enclosed within a rectangle. Each corner was divided into a 4 x 4 grid. Equal amounts of debris-free soil were taken from 3-4 random squares within the grid, and homogenized to obtain one sample, weighing 100 grams. Samples were wrapped tightly in aluminium foil, placed individually in sealed zip-top plastic bags, and stored in a cooler equipped with frozen cold packs.Water, soil, fish and shellfish samples werecollected from the sites visited, in order to assessthe extent of possible contamination due tomercury use in ASGM. Water samples wereinitially chosen, as wastewater from ore and goldprocessing procedures is often discharged directly Fish and Shellfishinto surface water creeks and rivers. Soil and fishsamples were taken to determine whether When available, especially in sites where seafoodmercury from such procedures has already made comprises a major part of the community’s diet,its way into biota through the water sources locally caught fish and shellfish were collected asidentified. Later, air sampling was conducted with well. Whole fish and shellfish samples werea portable mercury vapor analyzer, the Lumex RA- wrapped tightly in aluminium foil, placed915+. individually in sealed zip-top plastic bags, and stored in a cooler equipped with frozen cold packs.The following protocols for water, soil, fill andshellfish sample collection were adopted from the Airrecommendations of Engr. Ana Rivera of theEnvironmental and Occupational Health Office of Elemental mercury concentration was determinedthe Philippine Department of Health’s National through the use of the Lumex RA-915+ PortableCenter for Disease Prevention and Control. Mercury Analyzer is a device that can detect and measure the amount of elemental mercury vaporWater in the air. It operates by the principle of Zeeman atomic absorption spectroscopy – meaning, theAt least three water sources were identified for amount of light absorbed by the air sample fromeach ASGM site. Samples were placed in 1-literBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 41
    • the machine’s mercury vapor lamp is proportional the input hose, this may result in a lowerto the amount of mercury in the sample. concentration detected. Similarly, wind traveling at high speeds may result in lower readings. The Lumex was brought to various areas within the mining sites, including ball mill plants, panning areas, miners barracks, tunnels, and cyanidization areas, among others. For each sample, a baseline check test is done to ensure that the machine is working properly, and to bring the machine to a background level of zero, making sure that there are no interferences or background noise. Then, the machine collects and analyzes ambient air for a period of 10 minutes. Data is processed using the accompanyingThe Lumex is extremely sensitive, measuring DataLogger software to obtain the minimum,mercury vapor concentrations that are as low as 2 maximum, and average elemental mercury vapornanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3). The concentrations.nanogram is a very small unit of measurement;there are 1 billion nanograms in every 1 gram. To The team also utilized a Kestrel Pocket Weather 3visualize, 1 ng/m is roughly equivalent to a single Tracker instrument which measures the winddrop of water in 50 million jumbo-size balikbayan velocity and direction, humidity, temperature, andboxes. elevation. All these conditions affect the amount of elemental mercury that can be detected in theThe Lumex is also capable of testing mercury air.concentration in water, soil and other media;however, these media require special Resultsattachments. For the purposes of this study, onlymercury in air was detected and quantified. The The collected samples were analyzed for totalamount quantified by the Lumex is dependent not mercury content by two analytical laboratories:only on the actual amount of mercury in the area, Intertek Testing Services Philippines, Inc. in Makatibut on weather and climate factors as well. City, and Philippine Institute of Pure and AppliedIn general, the Lumex will be able to detect a Chemistry in Quezon City. Results of the coldhigher concentration of mercury in areas with vapour atomic absorption spectrometric analyseshigher temperature. Heat causes mercury to are summarized in the table below. Figures in redvolatilize or evaporate more easily, meaning that represent the results of analyses performed bymercury vapor will be more “available” for the PIPAC.machine to detect.If the wind is blowing the ambient air away fromthe input hose of the Lumex, rather than towardsElemental mercury concentration in air in various locations in Acupan Plant, Camp 5, Itogon, Benguet. Testingwas conducted on November 21-22, 2010. Location Average reading Maximum readingBall Mill Plant 19.2 ng/m3 30.4 ng/m3 3 3Top-Hill Panning Area 92.4 ng/m 710.7 ng/m 3 3Retail Store 18.1 ng/m 33.0 ng/mMiners Barracks 3751.8 ng/m3 30000.0 ng/m3Field Test 6.3 ng/m3 7.7 ng/m3 3 3Ball Mill Plant with Women Miners 3.44 ng/m 17.3 ng/mLime Process Area 26.3 ng/m3 41.0 ng/m3Cyanidezation Area 8.9 ng/m3 10.4 ng/m3Carbon and Leach Area 26.5 ng/m3 64.7 ng/m3Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 42
    • Elemental mercury concentration in air in various locations in Brgy. Malaguit and Brgy. Tugos Paracale,Camarines Norte. Testing was conducted on November 24-25, 2010. Location Average reading Maximum readingBrgy. MalaguitResidential Area 266.7 ng/m3 5516.2 ng/m3Mangrove Forest 9.0 ng/m3 19.7 ng/m3Gold processing Area 14275.3 ng/m3 30000.0 ng/m3Compressor mining area 93.2 ng/m3 96.4 ng/m3Actual amalgamation 7548.5 ng/m3 30000.0 ng/m3Brgy. TugosBarangay Hall 78.8 ng/m3 86.9 ng/m3Tunnel area 17.8 ng/m3 142.7 ng/m3 3 3Ball Mill and Panning Area 227.0 ng/m 620.4 ng/mElemental mercury concentration in air in various locations in barangays Dulanagan, Tagkayo and Ipil in themunicipality of Magdiwang Romblon. Testing was conducted on January 6-7, 2011. Location Sampling Date / Time Average Reading Maximum ReadingDulangan river January 6, 2011 12.3 ng/m3 18.4 ng/m3Baseline test 4:20 PM – 4:26 PMDulangan river January 6, 2011 94.0 ng/m3 157 ng/m3Junction of clear and 4:34 PM – 4:40 PMmuddy water (tailingrun-off from nearby goldprocessing facility) 3 3Brgy. Dulangan January 6, 2011 200.0 ng/m 3,731.4 ng/mWater tailings from ball 4:46 PM – 4:54 PMmill plant 3 3Brgy. Dulangan creek January 6, 2011 23.8 ng/m 1,625.2 ng/mNear the ball mill plant 5:00 PM – 5:08 PMBrgy. Dulangan January 6, 2011 382.2 ng/m3 93.0 ng/m3Tailings stockpile 5:12 PM – 5:18 PMBrgy. Dulangan ball mill January 6, 2011 24017.4 ng/m3 >30000 ng/m3facility with Hg on the 5:22 PM - 5: 32 PMdrumBrgy. Tagkayo January 7, 2011 176.8 ng/m3 1,715.6 ng/m3Abandoned gold-mine 10:34 AM – 10:40 AMfieldBrgy. Tagkayo January 7, 2011 10,196.2 ng/m3 > 30,000.0 ng/m3Open pit miners 10:50 AM – 10:58 AMbarracksBrgy. Tagkayo January 7, 2011 1,290.4 ng/m3 19,010.7 ng/m3Panning area 11:10 AM – 11:16 AMBrgy. Tagkayo January 7, 2011 88.6 ng/m3 421.3 ng/m3Rice field 11:50 AM – 11:56 AMBrgy. Ipil January 8, 2011 819.3 ng/m3 5,474.1 ng/m3Creek; actual Hg and 9:54 AM – 10:02 AMgold recovery from theriverBrgy. Ipil January 8, 2011 10.3 ng/m3 80.0 ng/m3Abandoned mining area 10:06 AM – 10:14 AMBrgy. Ipil January 8, 2011 5.9 ng/m3 59.1 ng/m3Feeder Road 10:34 AM – 10:42 AMBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 43
    • Site Water Soil Fish ShellfishRunruno, Nueva Vizcaya <0.001 ND * *Paracale, Camarines Norte <0.001 ND ND NDJose Panganiban, Camarines Norte <0.001 ND * *Itogon, Benguet <0.001 ND 0.02 0.02Hinobaan, Negros Oriental * * 0.05 0.04Aroroy, Masbate * * 0.41 *Concentration of total mercury (T-Hg), expressed in parts per million (ppm)ND = none detected* - no samples obtainedIn appreciating the various mercury in air emission results it would be helpful to compare it with existingstandards in other countries. For our purposes, we look at the level established by concerned agencies in theUnited States as standard reference levels for mercury exposure.US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – for homes 3 o Action level 1: Immediate evacuation 10,000 ng/m o Action level 2: Schedule relocation ASAP Between 1,000 and 10,000 ng/m3 o Action level 3: Safe re-occupancy Below 1,000 ng/m3US Department of Health and Human Services - Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) o Home evacuation level: 10,000 ng/m3Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 44
    • ASGM issues and concernsA. Environmental impacts Gulf, Murcielagos Bay in Zamboanga del Norte, Honda Bay and Palawan Bay in Palawan, among1. Deforestation and landscape destruction. other water bodies, have also shown mercuryConsidering that small-scale gold mining usually levels above existing standards.occurs in forestlands where miners and theirfamilies clear forests for habitation and other 3. Soil erosion and siltation. Excessive oreeconomic activities including the cutting of timbers extraction in the uplands and indiscriminateto support their mine tunnels. This activity has discharge of waste rocks in several water bodiesaggravated forest denudation and the distortion of has aggravated soil erosion and siltation which inscenic landscapes. Natural forest regeneration is turn resulted in instant flooding, with consequentlikewise hampered by intensified mining damage to crops, properties and even lives. It isoperations in the forestlands. The forest loss in estimated that about 40 tons of dry rock isKias Mine within the Baguio gold mining district for extracted for every kilo of gold produced. In ainstance, has been attributed to the felling of pine village in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte wastetrees that were used as timber supports for rocks from the mining site find their way to theunderground workings during the early gold-rush rivers and streams causing instant flooding duringstage. rainy days. In 2006, Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya also experienced two flash floods which killed seven people and nearly wiped out one whole village. While the incident may not be attributed solely to small-scale gold mining which has been taking place in the village since the 1960s, the volume of waste rocks deposited in rivers and creeks has aggravated the peoples’ misfortune. 4. Biodiversity loss. Contamination of water bodies also resulted in the disappearance of various life forms especially aquatic resources. Local stories are prevalent about how their rivers and streams2. Contamination of water bodies due to mercury used to be teeming with abundant fish and otherand cyanide pollution. The excessive use and life forms. Now, all that is left are stories and trailsemission of toxic substances like mercury and of destruction. The near extinction of freshwatercyanide during gold processing has also resulted in fishes in Naboc River in Monkayo, Compostellathe consequent contamination of several water Valley has been closely linked by residents withbodies thereby undermining their beneficial use. the mining activities in the upper Monkayo.Overflowing and often leaking mine tailingscontaminated with mercury and cyanide are 5. Loss of soil productivity. In most mining areas,discharged directly in rivers and creeks and in due miners turn to farming to augment their income.time end in seas and oceans where it bio- However, soil productivity has been reduced byaccumulates in fish. In 2006, the Department of erosion, deforestation and the impairment ofHealth Region XI found that fish samples from water sources. In many mining areas, farmlandsDavao Oriental, Davao del Sur and Davao City are converted as tailings ponds.markets had mercury content higher than theallowable limit of 0.3 microgram per gram. Whilethe Department accordingly withheld the officialrelease of the results of the study as it cannotpinpoint exactly where these fishes were caught,the findings indicate that mercury pollution in ourwater bodies have detrimental effects tofreshwater and marine life. Investigations on theextent of mercury contamination in the UpperAmbalanga River in Benguet, Kingking and NabocRiver in Compostella Valley, Agusan River, DavaoBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 45
    • B. Social and health problems Photo: Luis Liwanag/SSNC1. Unregulated migration in mining areas. Most 5. Exploitation of workers. Lack of capital andgold rush miners in the Philippines are migrants formal sources of credit have forced mine workerswho do not have legitimate claim in the areas to deal with local financiers under terms dictatedwhere they operate. The mass migration of miners by the latter. This has often put the workers on thein a newly discovered gold rich area has often losing end of the bargain. Miners, includingresulted to the displacement of original minors, also work under hazardous environmentsinhabitants and the disturbance of local customs and receive compensations which are often notand long-established economic activities in the commensurate to the strenuous work rendered.host community. 6. Absence of social security benefits for miner-2. Land tenure and resource use conflicts. The labourers. Notwithstanding the risks encounteredtendency of miners to swarm around a gold by the mine labourers, and the measly incomedeposit area often results in conflicts in mining they receive from exposing their life and limbs torights and resource uses, which often lead to the dangers of the trade, they do not have anyviolent confrontations between and among them health or life insurance or any social securityas well as with the local residents. The opening up benefits, save in the case of some miners inof mining to large-scale mining companies has also Benguet where contractors are required by theresulted in increasing confrontations between partner corporation to provide labor-mandatedthese companies and small-scale miners. benefits to their workers. Absent these security benefits, miners merely cling on to the verbal3. Limited access to health and basic services. assurance of financiers and customary practiceMost mining communities also have either no or that in case something untoward happens tolittle access to clean water or basic health care them, the latter will be financially responsible.services. Break out of diseases like malaria anddiarrhea have been documented in several miningareas. Other diseases frequently experienced byminers include tuberculosis, skin diseases,pneumonia, cough and upper respiratory tractinfection. There are also reported cases ofvenereal diseases like gonorrhea.4. Exposure of miners to occupational health andsafety hazards. Basic safety equipment likehelmet, safety boots, gloves and dust masksappears to be a low priority among miners, hencetheir exposure to health risks ranging from theeffects of poor ventilation to exposure to dust andtoxic chemicals like mercury, cyanide and nitric 7. Cases of mercury poisoning and high levels ofacids. mercury among miners and their families. As mentioned earlier, investigations on the effects of mercury pollution in certain ASGM sites have shown high mercury levels among miners and their families attributed mostly to theirBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 46
    • simultaneous exposure to inorganic and methyl c. Clearance from various governmentmercury. In 2006, the United Nations reported agencies namely, FMS, EMPAS, LMS andthat miners in the Philippines are found to have MGB;mercury levels up to 50 times above World Health d. Environmental Compliance Certificate;Organization limits. e. Surety bond in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00); andDownstream communities are also at risk. f. Articles ofContaminated tailings are often disposed of in partnership/incorporation/associationrivers and creeks which are often utilized for and by-laws duly registered with 56drinking water and washing by downstream concerned government agenciescommunities. In Dulangan river in Sibuyan,incidents of skin rashes appearing all over the For a miner to complete the abovementionedbody of river bathers has become common. Local requirements, he will have to wait for at least sixhealth practitioners are attributing this to the (6) months and shell out at least P40,00057.increasing pollution of mercury in the river. Application for miner’s license under Republic Act 7076 on the other hand requires only P5.00 filingC. Legal, enforcement and fee and a certificate of barangay residency58. Without a designated PSSMA and a mining permit, institutional problems however, the license is virtually unnecessary. 3. Ineffectual enforcement of small-scale mining and other related laws. In paper, small-scale mining laws appear to be adequate. Realities on the ground would however highlight the impractical application of some of its provisions. This accordingly prompted national and local governments to tolerate illegal gold mining activities. Enforcement of other environmental laws such as RA 6969 on toxic substances like mercury, and those that concern air and water pollution, protected area, wildlife, toxic, hazardous and solid waste which are also wantonly violated1. Weak and non-operational mining regulatory in most mining sites is also gravely wanting.boards. Almost all city and provincial miningregulatory boards in the country have been 4. Small-scale mining companies undertakingorganized; however, it appears that foremost in large-scale operations. Under our small-scaletheir agenda pertains to quarry operations save for mining laws, small-scale mining permittees arethe case of PMRBs in some provinces which may allowed to mine up to 20 hectares per permit andbe cited for their support for small-scale gold extract up to 50,000 dry metric tons of metallicmining. Almost two decades have passed since the and non-metallic minerals annually. There haveenactment of Republic Act 7076 but we have yet been reports, however, that some small-scaleto see a People’s Small-scale Mining Area declared mining companies exceed the extraction limits.or established by the body. 5. Need for the strengthening of LGUs for2. Costly and difficult permitting and licensing effective local mining governance. While theprocess. The demanding procedures to gain formal enforcement of small-scale mining laws have beenoperation have likewise dissuaded small-scale gold devolved to the provincial LGUs by virtue of theminers to apply for permits. A checklist for the Local Government Code, we have yet to see theapplication of small-scale mining permit under PD active participation of most provinces with small-1899 for instance, requires small-scale gold miners scale gold mining activities, let alone smoothto comply, among others, the following coordination in addressing small-scale miningrequirements: concerns. a. Survey plan with the technical description 6. Uncontrolled ASGM activities in protected and of the area applied for which must be watershed reservation areas. Small-scale mining prepared by a registered geodetic activities are also reported to have encroached engineer; upon ancestral domains of Indigenous Peoples and b. Barangay and municipal endorsement; in established protected areas as well asBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 47
    • watershed reservation areas such as in MountGuiting-Guiting Natural Park in Sibuyan Island,Romblon where it is reported that at most 3,000miners are operating illegal mining activities, theBugkalots Ancestral Domain in Nueva Vizcaya, andthe Mainit Hotspring Protected Landscape inMaragusan, Compostella Valley to name a few.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 48
    • ASGM stakeholders: Getting their acts togetherGiven the complexity of issues besetting thesector, enhancing the interaction between and c. Local government units. Under the Localamong stakeholders both at the local and national Government Code, local governments arelevel can facilitate better sharing of information, empowered to formulate and implement localconsensus building and joint ownership of development plans and programs, oversee thedecisions reached. This positive interaction can welfare of the communities under theirhelp the stakeholders reach a common ground, jurisdiction, and share in the revenues of theminimize conflicts and move forward.59ASGM is national government. The decentralization thatcharacterized by multiple actors with multiple was brought about by the Code has entrusted localvoices, and it is important to recognize these governments with greater responsibility, chief ofactors, listen to their voices, and enlist their them is the delivery of basic infrastructure andparticipation in decision-making. social services to their localities. It is thus important to strengthen capacity of localThe following are some of the known actors in the governments to enable them to respond to theASGM industry: challenges for better local small-scale mining governance.a. Miners, ASGM communities and adjacentvillages. These are the sectors that are directly Local governments likewise have the primary roleaffected by the hazards of mercury. Their in opening up a discourse on the path tomeaningful participation in planning and development which the community would like toimplementing ASGM interventions is thus take. Particularly, the issue of how ASGM fits intoessential. To facilitate this, continuous capability their model of development and in internalizing allbuilding and community organizing should be costs associated with ASGM in this plan.carried out to empower these local communities.The voices of the people in adjacent villages, d. Department of Health. The Department ofespecially those living downstream or downwind Health is one of the government agencies thatthe mining sites should also be heard considering have been at the forefront in the efforts tothat they both suffer the health and minimize and control mercury use and emission inenvironmental cost and sometimes the economic the Philippines. The Department, in collaborationbenefits of the activities upstream. with national and international partners, has undertaken several studies on the extent ofb. DENR/EMB/MGB. The DENR is the primary mercury contamination in mining areas as well asagency responsible for the management and the health and environmental hazards of mercuryenhancement of the quality of the environment as pollution. Areas of support which the Departmentwell as the use and management of all natural may provide to small-scale gold miners will includeresources in the Philippines. Within the DENR the conduct of regular health and safetyhierarchy are two bureaus whose functions monitoring and sustained health educationinclude those that deals with ASGM and mercury programs, in collaboration with local healthpollution. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau is workers.tasked, among others, to administer the country’smineral lands and mineral resources and provide e. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The bank wastechnical assistance to local government units in mandated by the People’s Small-scale Mining Lawthe performance of their devolved functions on to purchase gold from the small-scale miners at asmall-scale mining operations. The Environmental price competitive with the world market. PursuantManagement Bureau, on the other hand, is to this, the bank has intensified its campaign tomandated to formulate, integrate, coordinate, convince small-scale miners to bring their gold tosupervise and implement all policies, plans, any of its five buying stations. Aside from ensuringprograms, projects and activities relative to the ready market for the small-scale miner’s gold, theprevention and control of pollution as well as the bank also contributes in the efforts to minimizemanagement and enhancement of environment. mercury use by not accepting gold containing mercury or amalgam.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 49
    • f. Department of Trade and Industry. The big exemplified by the partnership contracts forged bynumber of people engaged in ASGM supports the the Benguet Corporation with the miners inDepartment’s mandate insofar as employment Itogon, Benguet and agreement forged by a mininggeneration is concerned. The Department can cooperative with a large-scale mining company intherefore help stimulate the industry by providing Aroroy, Masbate.technical, financial and marketing support tominers and in helping ensure the efficient These initiatives may be replicated in other sitescollection of government revenues. However, for by encouraging large scale mines to release areasthe miners to avail of DTI assistance, they have to of their concessions that are not suitable for large-formalize or legalize their operations. scale mining operations to small-scale gold miners.g. DOLE-Occupational Health and Safety HazardsDivision. The high risk faced by miners and theaccidents that occur in the mine sites often makeASGM unacceptable for many sectors. The dangersof the trade are also well-recognized by the minersas they often joke with one another after comingout of the tunnel: “You should thank God, you’re aperson again.” The Philippine government haspromulgated health and safety regulations forASGM. DOLE’s OSHS Division can therefore helpeliminate or minimize safety and health risks in themines by overseeing enforcement of theseregulations.h. Church and other non-governmentalorganizations. Although they don’t advocatesmall-scale mining, the Catholic Church and mostNGOs are accordingly not per se opposed to it.What is clearly unacceptable for the most part isirresponsible small-scale gold mining. Thesesectors can then be tapped as the watchdogs ofthe industry, especially in ensuring that small-scalegold mining is responsibly carried out.i. PMRB. An empowered local mining board is thekey towards robust small-scale gold mininggovernance. The board, once functional can be agood venue for threshing out differences orsettling conflicts among key players.j. Gold and mercury traders. Most miners largelydepend on gold and mercury traders for capital. Infact, most of these traders also act as localfinanciers. Their role can however be changed, inthat they can be tapped to invest in financingmercury-free and safe equipment for small-scaleminers.k. Large-scale mining companies. The awarding ofmost mining tenements to large-scale miningcompanies and the requirement for small-scaleminers to secure first their consent as a conditionsine qua non before their application could begranted appear to have widened the gap betweenthe two sectors. However, good stories areemerging about the peaceful co-existence of smalland large-scale mining in the Philippines asBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 50
    • Mercury Risk Reduction EffortsIn response to the call to limit the supply and communication campaigns on the effects ofdemand of mercury, the Philippine government mercury.has issued regulations, policies and guidelinescalling for more stringent requirements and In 2006, Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainableprocedures pertaining to the importation, Development received from World Bank and GEUSmanufacture, distribution and use of mercury and funding assistance for the training of small-scalemercury compounds as well as the proper gold miners and their families in the safe handlingtransport, storage and disposal of mercury-bearing of mercury during gold extraction focusing on theand mercury-contaminated wastes. These legal application of borax technique and mercuryand policy measures were instituted purposely to recycling using a devise known as retort.reduce environmental and human health impactsof improper management and disposal of mercury. The urgency of tackling mercury scourge in ASGM has likewise been the subject of variousIn 2008, the Environmental Management Bureau conferences, meetings and consultations carriedof the Department of Environment and Natural out in many parts of the country. Several studiesResources, made an inventory of mercury releases have likewise been conducted to investigate thein the country. The results of the study were used extent of mercury use and the degree of its impactas basis in the formulation of an Associated Action among affected communities, the results of whichPlan for Mercury in the Philippines. One of the were also discussed in this report. Experimentsaction items embodied in the said document is the were likewise conducted to test the efficiency andimplementation of the Quick Start Programme for effectiveness of mercury free alternatives60.Small Scale and Artisanal Mining in partnershipwith UNEP. The Philippine government has likewise commenced with the development of a NationalIn July 2008, the Department of Health issued Strategic Plan for mercury-use reduction in ASGMAdministrative Order 2008-0021, requiring all in coordination and collaboration with concernedhospitals in the country to gradually phase out all stakeholders. The plan is endeavored to contributemercury-containing devices, to immediately to the efforts to reduce mercury use in the sectordiscontinue the distribution of mercury and improve the condition of miners.thermometers in the patient’sadmission/discharge kits and to establish amercury minimization program. Attached to theorder are specific requirements and standards forsetting up a temporary mercury storage area.In August 2005, the Department of Environmentand Natural Resources and the Department ofHealth also signed a joint administrative orderprescribing the policies and guidelines on effectiveand proper handling, collection, transport,treatment, storage and disposal of health carewastes, pursuant to existing laws, rules andregulations. The JAO was also intended to clarifythe jurisdiction, authority and responsibilities ofthe two agencies and to harmonize their effortswith regard to health care waste management.The Department of Health and the UP-NationalPoisons Management and Control Center havelikewise been undertaking health monitoring ofmercury contamination in ASGM communities,orientation of rural health units (RHUs) andbarangay health workers on the toxic effects ofmercury and information, education andBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 51
    • Alternatives for cleaner gold productionOver the years, the need to reduce mercury use in  Retorts must be hermetically closed toASGM has resulted in the introduction of cleaner prevent all mercury vapours from escaping.technology alternatives and the improvement of  Retorts must be practiced by all miners in thetraditional mining methods. community.  Retorts should be made with stainless steelCommunities seeking to migrate away from and not with thin glass or with copper or ironmercury may utilize a combination of any of the materials. Amalgamation can happenfollowing methods and techniques. Successful between mercury/copper and mercury/iron.transition lies NOT with the technology but its  Retorts must be used for burning amalgamacceptability to the miners, community, and other only. The items used in making the retort arestakeholders. not to be used in cooking, storage or any other application for health reasons62.1. Mercury Reduction Methods Some miners in the Philippines have undergone training on the use of retorts; however, advocatesa. Retort of this technology still find hard to convince miners to adopt it. b. Use of fume hood Photo: DOSTThe use of retort, which was originally invented inSouth America61, is currently promoted not as analternative but as a method to increase recyclingof mercury. An alternative to the open-burning of amalgam is the use of fume hood with water-box condenser asRetorts are inexpensive to manufacture and can an add-on to recover mercury.be made out of local materials. There are basicallytwo types of retort commonly used by miners: c. Mercury reactivation via electrolysis63closed retorts and retorts with a pipe or tubing.The latter is more popular in the Philippines. Thismethod is practiced by placing the amalgam in theretort, after which, it is heated over a charcoalburner, wood fire or propane burner. While theamalgam is heated, the mercury evaporates insidethe retort, travels through the long cooling pipeand ends in a bowl of water into which it falls inthe form of small pearls. The cooling pipe is keptcool by a wet cloth or the like. When the processhas been concluded the retort is cooled downafter which the gold inside is recovered. Image© Dr. Kevin Telmer Electrolysis is used to restore mercury to itsBlacksmith Institute offered the following elemental state, making it more efficient insuggestions for a more efficient use of retort: bonding with gold particles. This method needs the following equipment: (a) plastic container; (b)Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 52
    • insulated copper cable; (c) stick of graphite or be prevented by introducing pressurizedsilver; (d) a solution of Sodium Hydroxide; and (e) fluidization water from behind the rings. Thisa 12-volt battery or regulator. helps the high-density gold particles to displace lower density gangue particles causing the goldElectrolysis requires the use of retort or any grade to increase in the concentrating rings withmercury capturing device. After placing the copper time. After a period of time, the feed is stoppedcable into the ‘old’ or captured mercury, the and the rotor is shut off. The concentrate iselectrolytic solution is poured over the top of the flushed from the cone into the concentratemercury. The graphite anode is then placed into launder and can be upgraded further by 64the solution without touching the layer of panning .mercury. As the charge flows, the sodium entersthe mercury and forms sodium amalgam, alsoknown as ‘charged mercury’. The resulting productis pure and shiny mercury which can be used onceagain.While ultimately, mercury free alternatives areundeniably necessary, until they are available, theuse of retort, fume hood and mercury reactivationvia electrolysis can be a good step in reducing theamount of mercury being used in ASGM whileminimizing occupational exposure of miners andmercury release to the environment. These should Photo: UNIDObe considered short-term solutions and policy One of the issues raised with respect to the use ofmakers should formulate policy or solutions centrifugal concentrators as alternative technologytowards mercury elimination. is that they are relatively complex to manufacture.2. Mercury-free Techniques b. Magnetic sluicea. Centrifugal method Magnetic sluice uses magnetism to create riffles for a physical separation of gold from grains withProponents of the use of centrifugal concentrators lower density, instead of using mercury or otherclaim that this technology is likely to achieve chemicals for separation via chemical reactions. The only equipment needed under this method ishigher recoveries than gravity concentration a simple sluice, through which the gold containingmethod. The UNIDO’s Global Mercury Project ore and a relatively small amount of water isillustrates how the method operates: passed by laminar flow. This process is briefly explained by Hylander et al in this wise: Centrifugal concentrators consist of a vertical rotation bowl with a series of concentric rings that trap the gold. A centrifugal force is applied To extract the gold, the ore should either on the ore particles, in such a way that this force contain magnetically susceptible components, or inexpensive, recyclable, magnetically is 60 to 300 times higher than the gravitational susceptible material can be added. The gold force. The rotor is accelerated and feed slurry is grains settle in the riffles and then the material introduced to the concentrating cone through a attached to the sluice is scraped off into a pan. stationary feed tube. Upon reaching the The final extraction of gold from the gold deflector pad at the bottom of the cone, the concentrate in the sluice was done by traditional slurry is driven outward to the cone wall by the centrifugal acceleration. As slurry flows up the panning, but can also be done by using strong cone wall, the solids fill each ring to capacity magnets to remove the magnetically susceptible material from the dry concentrate. The gold creating the concentrating bed. The tailings grains in the pan can be suctioned up with a product overflows the bowl and the gold small plastic vial or the gold concentrate can be becomes trapped in the rings. Some separators 65 have a smooth wall at the bottom of the bowl smelted straight away . where stratification takes place. The high density gold is concentrated at the wall forcing The use of magnetic sluice has been tested in the 66 and displacing lower density particles away from Philippines in 2005 with varying results. Based on the experiment in five sites namely Acupan & the wall. Compaction of the bed in the rings can Balatoc in Benguet, Paracale in Camarines NorteBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 53
    • and Mainit & Diwalwal in Compostella Valley this moved in a circular motion under a stream oftechnology can have a gold recovery efficiency of water where the lighter particles are graduallyup to 73 percent. washed off, leaving gold particles near the center of the pan. e. Cyanidation Cyanidation may involve the use of aluminium, zinc or activated carbon. Cyanidation techniques are discussed under Gold Mining and Production portion of this report. 3. Refining a. Direct Smelting67 Direct smelting is a method used to recover metals from ores and concentrates without first resorting to amalgamation. Panned concentrates are directly smelted using high-temperature melting process to purify sponge gold. Under this method, fluxes are added to the concentrate to assist melting and react with impurities so that the metal separates out from them. The final products are Photo: Jeff Hapemann pure metal and a glassy slag containing thec. Shaking sluice unwanted components. Direct smelting can be used for all types of ores.Another emerging gold liberation technique is theuse of shaking sluice or shaking table. Under thismethod, the sluice is set up diagonally with aninclination of up to 0.7 meters on its highest pointand 0.2 meters on its lowest point. The oresample is first mixed with water to form slurry andthen poured into the shaking sluice with theremaining bottom sediment added to the sluice byspooning. After a few minutes, the shaker and thewater are turned off simultaneously. Water is thendrawn away from the riffles using a piece of paperplaced beside the material without touching theore material, which had been separated into Photo: S. Al-Hassan & R. K. Amankwah & R. S. Narteyclearly visible fractions along the sluice. b. Use of borax Another mercury free-alternative being pushed is the use of borax. This method is widely practiced by the miners in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya and Itogon, Benguet. The use of borax essentially follows gravity concentration where gold concentrates that were recovered from a sluice are panned. Miners in Quezon use detergent bars in separating the gold from other particles in the pan. Recovered gold concentrates are then heated with a blowtorch where borax is occasionally added.d. Gravity concentrationIn this method, gold bearing sands or gravels orground ores are placed in a pan then swirled orBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 54
    • Removing barriers to mercury-freeand cleaner gold productionThe basic tenet of technology transfer is thattechnology does exist, or technology can bereadily developed, that is superior to the existingtechnologies being used by the people in the field.The challenge is how best to inform the end usersthat this technology exists, or can be developed,and to get them to accept the new technology andsuccessfully implement it in their operations68.More than technological issues, however, thereare many factors to be considered in promotingthe adoption of cleaner gold productionalternatives. Even if the miners are aware of thehazards of mercury or other productiontechniques, they tend to dismiss it because of theirneed to earn quick income for their dailysubsistence. Hence, any gold productiontechnology, no matter how viable they may be, if itrequires more labor and a longer period of timebefore they can produce gold for their daily needsmay only be passively received by miners.Organizing the miners, increasing their capital baseand providing credit facilities that will addressthese concerns may however help increaseacceptance by the miners of these mercury-freealternatives.These efforts should be complemented byawareness raising activities, documentation ofgood mining practices for possible replication andthe provision of the needed incentives formigration from mercury use.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 55
    • Conclusion & RecommendationsConclusion RecommendationsReview of related past studies, field investigations, There is no silver bullet that can adequatelyinterviews and samples collection and analysis lead address the complex issues surrounding ASGM into the conclusion that the problem of mercury the Philippines. Care should be taken topollution in the Philippines is widespread and that understand the specific ASGM area, the needs ofunless and until urgent and drastic steps are the community, and their goals for developmentcarried out to contain its further discharge into the for any effective intervention can take place.environment, the effects will be disastrous. Whilea significant portion of mercury releases are Considering these constraints, to rationalizeattributed to the ASGM sector, there are various ASGM activities and improve governance ofapproaches that can be taken by local officials. ASGM operations, these broad strategies,There have been attempts to move to a mercury- mechanisms and potential solutions to variousfree system but there is no silver bullet or single ASGM concerns may be considered:solution to the problem although there are lots ofmoving pieces that can be individually tackled 1. Technical. Due to limited knowledge and 71leading to significant improvement . resources, small-scale miners cannot conduct scientific and efficient exploration activities. TheThe role of artisanal and small-scale gold mining frequent “wild” searches for gold deposits havemust be defined and understood by the often resulted to losses in investment andcommunity and country that has this industry. unnecessary degradation of lands. To eliminateThere are two sides to ASGM, the economic uncertainties in the search for gold deposits andbenefits on one and the heavy environmental, promote sustainability of the industry, it is thussocial, and health issues on the other. necessary for the Mines and Geosciences BureauOftentimes when weighing the benefits of ASGM to provide technical support in the exploration andto a community only the economic side of the delineation of mineral deposits and come up withequation is considered to the detriment of the mineral inventory of lands available for extractionenvironmental, social and health impacts of the at the small-scale level. These areas can then besector. set aside by the provincial or city mining regulatory boards as People’s Small Scale MiningOpen and participatory dialogue is needed Area pursuant to Republic Act 7076.among all stakeholders to thresh out thecomplicated role of ASGM in development. Until In determining appropriate gold liberationits role is clearly defined, only then can it be a techniques, the properties of various gold oresviable development option provided further should be closely studied. Alternativethat adequate environmental safeguards are in technologies which are simplified, health friendlyplace and the health socio-economic costs are and mercury free should be explored whileminimized. If managed appropriately with interventions should be introduced to improveadequate technical and financial assistance, and traditional mining methods like gravitycommunity acceptance and understanding of concentration.the role of ASGM, the industry has the potentialto make a significant contribution to rural It is also advisable to prioritize efforts at changinglivelihoods and poverty reduction, without the the three major environmentally unsoundmassive social and environmental disturbances practices in ASGM, in relation to mercury-use:of large-scale mining72. 1. whole-ore amalgamation;All of these parameters are however, dependent on 2. open burning;the sincerity of the government in finding effective 3. mercury-cyanide mixingsolutions to the various problems faced by theindustry. Unfortunately, the government has a Substantial reduction in mercury emissions frompoor track record in this area, as it provides the sector can be substantially achieved if theserelatively little assistance to small scale miners, three priority practices are effectively halted.while giving priority to large, foreign-owned firms.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 56
    • Some efforts have been started. In 2007, the buying stations. There may also be a need toGlobal Mercury Project came out with guidelines modify existing gold acceptance criteria toon mercury management in ASGM where it laid increase incentives for miners to sell their gold todown, among others, as principal technical the BSP. Another strategy is to tap miningmeasures the use of retort in heating the amalgam organizations to serve as local gold dealers.and the prohibition of whole ore amalgamationand cyanidation of mercury-rich tailings. Strengthening linkage with other sectors of the economy as well as establishing formal marketingIn view of these guidelines, the sector is faced with systems is also important for the industry’sa stiff challenge in establishing a common service growth. This can be done by the expansion of localfacility or proper storage and disposal system for jewellery and other related industries.confiscated mercury and other mercury-containingwastes. The establishment of a central 4. Legal/regulatory. Formalizing the operation ofestablishment where gravity concentrates is small-scale miners is a good step towards theprocessed by specialized people using sustenance of the industry as it allows supervisionamalgamation or leaching methods in a controlled and control in the activities of miners. Greaterlaboratory environment may likewise be intervention can facilitate better enforcement ofconsidered. pertinent laws and regulations and in addressing health, safety and environmental issues. However,There is also a need to establish safe storage of present legal and regulatory frameworks for ASGMexcess mercury coming from the sector. If efforts do not create a condition conducive forin convincing miners to migrate towards mercury- formalization. A review of extant small-scalefree processes and technologies are successful, the mining laws and policies and effecting appropriategovernment will be faced with the prospect of amendments like the streamlining of regulatorymanaging mercury coming out of the sector, and administrative procedures will certainly helpespecially, when mercury from tailings are being eliminate the barriers for formalization. To realizerecovered. Addressing this need before the excess this, the active involvement of the affectedmercury begins to accumulate would be highly sectors, particularly the small-scale minersadvantageous. themselves will be indispensable.2. Financial. Most ASGM operations are rendered Promotion of educational programs, saferineffective and unsustainable by lack of working alternatives, and incentives such as tax holidayscapital and credit facilities and lack of suitable and access to credit for those who register may,mining equipment. Few miners have access to the among others, encourage miners to regularizenecessary capital from financial institutions due to their activities. Large-scale mining companiesthe nature of their activities which is scattered, should also be encouraged to release areas ofinformal, illegal and rural. This concern can be their concessions that are not suitable for large-addressed by encouraging miners to form scale mining operations for licensing to small-scalecooperatives, associations or federations, or miners as already implemented by the Benguetstrengthen those that are already in existence to Corporation in Itogon.increase their capital base and maximize utilizationof existing equipment so that other available At the core of the mercury reduction efforts in theresources can be channelled into other areas. sector would be the imposition andThese organizations can even get easier support implementation of a stringent prohibition in thefrom local and national, or even international entry of mercury and mercury compounds into thefunding agencies. They can also avail of the Philippines, except for limited educational orbenefits of Republic Act R.A. 9178, popularly scientific purposes. Removing all importknown as the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises exemptions for mercury and mercury compounds(BMBEs) Act of 2002. can further help in controlling the influx of mercury into the country.3. Business/Economic. One of the main concernsin the trading of gold is the distance of BSP goldbuying centers in ASGM sites which has resulted inthe inadequacy in the price of gold and pilferage ofa substantial volume of ASGM production into theblack market. There is a need to re-evaluateproximity of BSP gold buying centers to ASGMsites and establish, if and when practicable, sub-Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 57
    • Focus should be geared to children and their mothers. Tapping community leaders will also be critical in establishing local “expertise” on the environmental and health dangers posed by mercury. An assessment of the current knowledge, awareness and practices of small-scale miners and their families will help establish a baseline data to determine effectiveness of future IEC interventions. The result of the assessment can also be used as basis in identifying proper IEC interventions. Oftentimes, ASGM is linked with sustainable development, but no concrete consultation with5. Institutional. As mentioned earlier, artisanal mining and other stakeholders have taken place to define ASGM’s role. Currently the serious social,and small-scale gold mining is a complexdevelopment issue which affects a broad range of health and environmental costs that accompanystakeholders and thus requires organized and small-scale gold mining are externalized and bornerationalized efforts between and among the key by communities and local governments whereplayers. To ensure smooth coordination of ASGM these operations occur. Any serious discussion ofinitiatives and effective discharge of mandated the benefits of ASGM and its role in nationalroles, there is a need to simplify institutional development must be weighed by these external costs that are often ignored. Particularly, effortsstructures and delineate overlapping functions ofvarious institutions; strengthen the provincial and towards internalizing the external costs of goldcity mining regulatory boards and increase the production must be carried out before wecapacity and capability of LGUs. Municipalities are seriously consider mainstreaming ASGM into thealso encouraged to include small-scale mining national development agenda.development in their local economic developmentstrategies.6. Health and safety. Small-scale gold minersshould be provided with some form of on-sitehealth, environmental and safety training courses.These kinds of training should be made a pre-requisite for acquiring licenses/permits. Healthstudies and monitoring in affected regions shouldbe maintained and appropriate remediationmeasures should be carried out to protect theminers and their families from adverse health andenvironmental impacts of their unsustainablepractice.Fish and shellfish monitoring and advisories indownstream communities is also critical, andmust be immediately implemented by thegovernment. This is needed to be done in parallelwith efforts at phasing out mercury use in thesector.7. Education. To eliminate the “silent killer”known as mercury, intensive awareness campaignsshould be undertaken.Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 58
    • PHILIPPINE PROVINCES WITH KNOWN GOLD DEPOSITSBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 59
    • LOCATION OF ARTISANAL AND SMALL-SCALE GOLD MINING (ASGM) IN THE PHILIPPINESBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 60
    • PROVINCES WITH REPORTED MERCURY USE IN ARTISANAL AND SMALL-SCALE GOLD MINING (ASGM)Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 61
    • Notes/References1 23 Module 3, Mercury Training Module, United Nations Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gold Reserves, Ma. Ramona GDTEnvironment Programme, 2008 Santiago; GFMS Annual Precious and Base Metals Seminar,2 Export Bans and Reducing Mercury Consumption in Artisanal London, September 2008 24and Small Scale Gold Mining, Kevin Telmer, University of The information was shared by the miners during the ASGMVictoria Consultation held on May 05, 2010 in Tagum City, Davao del3 Norte In 2009, Pyrone et al. estimates ASGM annual mercury 25demand to be 1,350 tonnes. Manual for Training Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Miners,4 Telmer K. and Veiga M., 2008 UNIDO 2006 265 Sources and trends of environmental mercury emissions in Greer, 1993 27Asia, paper presented by Engr. Anna Trinidad F. Rivera during Human Exposure to Mercury in Fish in Mining Areas in thethe 2006 Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety Philippines; Desiree M. Narvaez: 2002 286 Metallic Minerals Resource/Reserve Inventory of the Global mercury production, use & trade: Peter Maxson; EEBPhilippines, 2009; Mines and Geosciences Bureau conference in Madrid, Spain, April 22, 2005 297 This figure is based on the data obtained from MGB, and U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries,review of provincial profiles January 2009 308 When the ‘Isles of Gold’ turn into Isles of Dissent: A Case Copperwiki website, last accessed March 15, 2010 31Study on the Philippine Mining Act of 1995; Tebtebba Associated Mercury Action Plan for the Philippines;Foundation: 2003 Environmental Management Bureau-Department of9 Lopez, Salvador P. “Isles of Gold: A History of Mining in the Environment and Natural Resources: August 2008 32Philippines,” pp. 3-13 (1992) Greer, 1993 3310 Women Miners in Developing Countries by Kuntala Lahiri- Appleton et al., 1999 34Dutt & Martha Macintyre: 2006 Estimation of Production, Tons Mined and Tailings11 Prosperity without Progress by Norman G. Owen, citing Felix Generated by the Small Scale-Gold Mining Activity, NSCB 35Tegengren’s “A Historical Review of Gold in the Philippines” Dr. Edmundo Prantilla, 2008 3612 Issues and Recommendations Related to Small-scale Mining The paper was presented by Engr. Elnor Roa, Mindanaoin Mindanao: paper presented by Eduardo Cayabyab of the State University 37Small-Scale Miners Federation, Zamboanga Peninsula Health and Environmental Risk Assessment Among MotherMindanao during the workshop on ‘Community and State and Child Residents Living Near an Abandoned Mercury Mine:Interests in Small-Scale Mining: Sharing Experiences from the A Toxic Legacy; Ethelyn P. Nieto: 2006 38Asia-Pacific Region’ Manila, 7–12 June 2005 Fish species namely ibis, tabas, lapu-lapu and torsillo13 Country Case Study on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining: registered NV>0.5 ug/g fw total mercury level and NV>0.3 ug/gPhilippines; Bugnosen 2001 fw methylmercury level which are accordingly beyond the14 Mining in the Philippines Concerns and conflicts; Columban acceptable mercury levels in fishes. 39Fathers 2007 citing Antonio A Tujan Jr. and Rosario Bella Watershed Characterization of Naboc River Basin, Palero etGuzman’s Globalizing Philippine Mining, IBON Foundation Inc. al. 40and Research Centre Health Assessment for Mercury Exposure Among15 International Labour Organization Press release, 10 June Schoolchildren Residing Near Gold Processing and Refining2009 posted at www.haribon.org.ph Plant in Apokon, Tagum, Davao del Norte Philippines, Akagi et16 Compendium on Best Practices in Small-scale Mining in al. 41Africa; Economic Commission for Africa: December 2002 Accumulation of Mercury and Other Heavy Metals in Some17 Section 3(b) Edible Marine Molluscs in Sibutad, Zamboanga del Norte;18 http://www.nenepimentel.org (last visited, September 16, Georgina Lacastesantos - Fernandez 422009) Mercury Contamination Associated with Small-Scale Gold19 Section 3(c) Mining in the Upper Ambalanga River, Benguet, Philippines20 Child labour in gold mining: The problem; International from River Sediment Sampling, Maglambayan et al. 43Labour Organization, International Programme on the Mercury Pollution Due to Small-Scale Gold Mining in theElimination of Child Labour (IPEC), June 2006 Philippines: An Economic Analysis, Israel & Asirot; Philippine(http://www.rimmrights.org/childmining/child_labour_in_gold Institute for Development Studies, 2002 44_mining.htm) Section 17, RA 7076 4521 The figures were culled out from the Revised Inventory of This doctrine as enshrined in Article XII, Section 2; 1987Small-scale Mining, Sand and Gravel, and Quarry Permits Issued Philippine Constitution reads: “All lands of the public domain,by LGUs posted at MGB website waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all22 Breaking promises, making profits: Mining in the Philippines; forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife,A Christian Aid and PIPLinks report, December 2004 flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. x x x. The exploration, development, and utilization ofBan Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 62
    • natural resources shall be under the full control and supervisionof the State.”46 Weaving Worldviews: Implications of ConstitutionalChallenges to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997;Marvic Leonen; Journal of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,Vol. 30; 200447 La Bugal-B’laan Tribal Association, Inc. vs. Victor O. Ramos;[G.R. No. 127882. December 1, 2004]48 Section 5, RA 794249 Section 20 (b)(f)(g)(h), RA 758650 Section 27 (c) in relation to Section 28 of RA 914751 In Camarines Norte, gold extraction and processing from theASGM sites are carried out by mining groups locally known askorporasyon. Each korporasyon is usually composed of five (5)to ten miners who either agree to pool their resources or seekfinancing from local investors. The mine workers or labourersare called players.52 In the Philippines a barangay is further divided into zoneswhich are locally known as sitios or puroks.53 In June 29, 2009, a story entitled ‘Govt. probe teamconfirms dynamite, mercury use in N Vizcaya mining town’ andwritten by Ben Moses Ebreo was posted at PIA’s website54 Mercury Contamination Associated with Small-Scale GoldMining in the Upper Ambalanga River, Benguet, Philippines,note 3055 The inventory was conducted by the barangay LGU and Mr.Lars Hylander of Uppsala University (Sweden)56 Checklist of Requirements for the Application ofPermit/License under PD 189957 Based on interview with a TWG member of Benguet PMRBand a small-scale gold miner of Itogon, Benguet58 Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 7076;DENR Administrative Order No. 34, July 14, 199259 Philippine Mining: It can Play a Positive Role, December2003; by The Wallace Business Forum, Inc.60 In 2005, Sofie Lucke and Jenny Öhlander OF UppsalaUniversity, Sweden made separate experiments testing theeffectiveness of mercury-free gold processing alternatives61 Small Scale Gold Mining in Developing Countries; Geoviden:Geology and Geography No. 2; 200762 Train the Trainers: First Report on the Reduction of MercuryEmissions Through Appropriate Technologies Training inSenegal, January 200763 Based on the presentation of Sumali Agrawal, TechnicalDirector of Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta, Indonesia64 Manual for Training Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Miners,UNIDO 2006, page 2565 Comparison of Different Gold Recovery Methods withRegard to Pollution Control and Efficiency, L.D. Hylander et al.200766 Evaluation of a new, mercury-free method for small-scalegold mining in the Philippines, Sofie Lücke, February 200567 Based from the presentation of Prof. Jerry S. Kuma,University of Mines and Technology, Ghana68 Mercury and Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Miners in Chinaby Aaron James Gunson, April 2004Ban Toxics! The Price of Gold: Mercury Use and Current Issues Surrounding Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Philippines 63