Miners in Gaang use Borax
14/15-10-2014 By , Manila Standard Today, Philippines
BALBALAN, Kalinga—An American engineer, who is considered an expert on safe mining methods, said on Tuesday small-scale miners in this remote mountain municipality have adopted a new way of extracting gold without using mercury, and they have succeeded in preserving a healthy environment.
Dr. Rasmus Rasmussen, a mining engineer from the University of Copenhagen, said hundreds of miners that pan for gold in the river use the borax sluice box, a mercury-free practice of extracting gold from ore.
“The success of the project in Gaang to convert almost all the miners is exemplary and fantastic, and this is world news,” Rasmussen said.
Pocket miners in other countries such as Papaua New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia, and North America usually separate the gold by soaking g rinded ore in mercury solution. The miners in Gaang use Borax, a cleansing agent used in manufacture of glass and porcelain, instead.
Small-scale mining in Gaang is a multi-million industry. The town produces around two to three tons of high grade gold annually.
Rasmussen said Gaang was a successful artisanal small-scale gold mining to adopt a mercury-free mining practice and “the commitment shown by miners to get rid of harmful chemical is worth emulating in other parts of the world.”
“The miners should not be punished for mining natural resources. Their effort to change from mercury mining into a more responsible mining practice should be recognized and awarded,” he said.
The Banao Bodong Association, a community regulating body respected by the native tribes, has banned the use of mercury because of its bad effect on the health and environment.
Miners, who refuse to adopt safe mining methods will be banned from the community and will be driver out of the village, according to association officials.
Mayor Kennth Mangaoang commended the miners for being receptive to change and said it will translate to overall benefit for the community and the people, especially the next generation of small-scale miners.
Gov. Jocel Baac said the shift in mining methods in Gaang mines will contribute to reducing the high traces of mercury in the Chico River, making the river useful for people living in low-lying communities.
Gold mining sans mercury; Philippines - It is possible, mining without mercury, but the will to do so must be there and that will is not there among the Suriname small scale gold miners.....they keep on using the prohibited mercury and they keep on destroying the biodiversity and poison the water in creeks, rivers and lakes which water is used by indigenous and maroon people in the hinterland. No real action is taken by the government against those miners.