A Filipino-made, non-polluting mineral processing tech is now ready in Caraga

The University of the Philippines-Diliman thru the Project Field Testing of Integrated Gold-Copper Mineral Processing Pilot Plant in the Regions or Better Mine, officially turned-over the mineral processing plant in Cabadbaran City to DOST-Caraga Regional Office last May 24, 2019.

The environment-friendly gold extraction facility, dubbed as Community-led Integrated Non-Mercury Non-Cyanide Gold Extraction Method (CLINN GEM), is developed by Dr. Herman Mendoza and his team from the Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering of UP-Diliman, with the funding support from the DOST- Philippine Council on Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

According to the research project, the small-scale mining industry in 30 provinces contributes 70 to 80% of the country’s gold production, thus contributing to the national economic growth. However, current methods in the industry have a recovery rate of 40-50% and pose environment and health risks. In global basis, the industry is responsible for approximately 37% of mercury-emission and the largest source of air and water pollution.

To help the small-scale mining industry in the regions, the project is providing an alternative method to the current practice of amalgamation and cyanidation in a manner that is more responsible, safe and high-yielding.

According to Dr. Mendoza, the Integrated Gold-Copper Mineral Processing Plant is using green technologies like flotation and gravity concentration in extracting minerals from ores. The facility also features tailings or waste disposal system and analyses for product quality control. With the features, the facility has a recovery rate of 85-90% of gold extraction.

DOST-Caraga RD Dominga Mallonga (center) accepts the project’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and terminal report from Project Leader Dr. Herman Mendoza (center) and team (Left to right: Jun Endozo, Executive Asst. of the Governor, Ricardo N. Varela, DOST-Caraga Asst. RD for Field Operations, Dr. Rey Capangpangan, CSU Professor, Engr. Noel Ajoc, DOST-Caraga Technical Support Services Div. Chief, Hon. Arcrecia D. Camarin, Brgy. Del Pilar Captain, Hon. Dick Victor Carmona, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member, Dir. Enrico Paringit, DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director, Engr. Noel Villavicencio, Engr. Louie Bedes, Engr. Anne Marie Reyes from UP, and Lt. Col. Isagani Criste, 29IB)
DOST-Caraga RD Dominga Mallonga (center) accepts the project’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and terminal report from Project Leader Dr. Herman Mendoza (center) and team (Left to right: Jun Endozo, Executive Asst. of the Governor, Ricardo N. Varela, DOST-Caraga Asst. RD for Field Operations, Dr. Rey Capangpangan, CSU Professor, Engr. Noel Ajoc, DOST-Caraga Technical Support Services Div. Chief, Hon. Arcrecia D. Camarin, Brgy. Del Pilar Captain, Hon. Dick Victor Carmona, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member, Dir. Enrico Paringit, DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director, Engr. Noel Villavicencio, Engr. Louie Bedes, Engr. Anne Marie Reyes from UP, and Lt. Col. Isagani Criste, 29IB)

The mineral processing plant is located at Purok 4, Brgy. Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte, and is the fourth of its kind nationwide to be turned-over to the community following Itogon, Benguet, Compostella Valley, and Camarines Norte, Bicol Region. Agusan del Norte was chosen for its strategic location for small-scale mining in the region. The project in Caraga cost around Php37 Million.

DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Enrico Paringit expressed his support to the project and posed a challenge to the community to assume the operation of the facility and promote green technologies for mining. He hopes for the project to be a model of a sustainable and economically-viable small-scale mining industry.

First batch of trainees from DOST-Caraga and Caraga State University for Plant Operations and Management
First batch of trainees from DOST-Caraga and Caraga State University for Plant Operations and Management

To ensure proper operation and turnover of the plant to the community, DOST-Caraga Regional Director Dominga Mallonga said that they will ensure training of personnel from DOST and partners, and more consultations with the community.

DOST-Caraga and UP-Diliman partner with the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte, Barangay Del Pilar Council, other regional-line agencies, and the Caraga State University which offers a Mining Engineering program. The project started in 2014 with a series of stakeholders and pre-deployment activities.

Tour inside the plant during the turnover ceremony

Tour inside the plant during the turnover ceremony
Tour inside the plant during the turnover ceremony