Operations of small-scale mining in Benguet problematic


The Mines and Geosciences-Cordillera (MGB-CAR) has issued stoppage order to several small-scale mining operations in Itogon. MGB-CAR Regional Director Fay Apil, who is also the chairman of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (BOARD), disclosed during the body’s 2nd quarter regular meeting on Wednesday (May 3) held at the Capitol here. In fact, the stoppage order against small-scale mining operations issued by former environment secretary Roy Cimatu still in effect, unless it has been declared as Minahang Bayan (MB) and small-scale mining contract (SSMC) has been granted.

Actually, Benguet Corp. sought the assistance of MGBCAR and to concerned government agencies to stop alleged illegal small-scale mining operations in their mineral properties in Itogon. On the case of Gold Creek Mining Corp., the company asked the assistance of PMRB on the increased illegal smallscale mining activities within their patented mining claims. RD Apil revealed to the
body that officials of Gold Creek Mining Corp. “Are willing to give a consent” to affected SSM associations in support of the government’s Minahang Bayan (MB) program.

The MGB official noted the “problematic condition” of illegal small-scale mining operations in Benguet, and she encouraged local government units to enforce laws on illegal mining following its devolve functions based on the latest presidential executive order issued. Apil also urged Benguet
Federation of Small-Scale Miners, Inc through its president Norberto Cobaldez to “police their ranks.” Furthermore, the body has agreed to write DENR central office to seek clarifications
regarding the newly issued DAO 2022-03 involving the operations of small-scale mining.

The body noted that new department order is “burdensome” on the part of SSM. It contradicts the earlier pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of easing government requirements like in the mining industry to include small-scale mining. Meanwhile, the regulatory board also approved permits renewal of registration of dozens of commercial and industrial sand and gravel businesses in the province.

Primo Agatep/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon