Highly-toxic mercury use in mining to be eliminated in Philippines’ compliance with Minamata Convention

May 23, 2021

  The government is strengthening regulations against the use of highly toxic

mercury in mining in compliance with the Minamata Convention that protects the

environment and human health from mercury emissions reaching to 1,000 tons yearly.

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is

implementing a program that establishes national policies ensuring elimination of

mercury’s use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM).

      DENR said it is implementing the “Global Opportunities for Long-term

Development of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining Sector (GOLD-ASGM)” project

under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and with the United Nations Environment

Program (UNEP). 

Mercury is vaporized to extract gold, creating toxicity in human when inhaled

   Grant amount for both countries totals to P585 million until 2024.  The Philippine

government through DENR has a counterpart funding of P96 million.

   The project will help small miners shift to legal mining that uses mercury-free

technology. It will empower small miners and help raise their income and livelihood by

producing higher value-added products such as jewelry from mere raw gold ore.

   “Meaningful economic incentives as well as adequate community development

strategies are needed to fully aid mining communities with their formalization efforts,”

said the DENR.

    The project also aims to address issues of ASGM like hazardous working

conditions, child labor, and gender gaps through capacity building and assistance to

government agencies in developing relevant policies, DENR said.

   The Philippines’s ASGM sector takes up a critical role in the economy, directly

employing 500,000 small miners and indirectly providing livelihood to two million people.

   According to the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau, there are 38 ASGM

operators in the Caraga region while 78 exist in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

   While mostly operating illegally, the ASGM sector accounts for 70% of the

country’s gold production.  The Philippines itself is one of world’s top 20 gold producers.

     DENR said the project sites for the gold project in the Philippines are Mountain

Province and Camarines Norte. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.