By Mike U. Crismundo
Butuan City — Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña on Tuesday disclosed that Mindanao’s first eco-friendly mineral and gold processing plant is set to rise in Caraga region before the end of the year.
According to Dela Peña, the new plant will be constructed in Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte.
He made the disclosure during a press forum held at the Balanghai Hall of Go Hotels here.
Dela Peña said the integrated gold-copper mineral processing plant will not use harmful chemicals, like mercury or cyanide.
“It will use clean technology developed by University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman researchers, and what’s more important is, walang (there will be no) mercury and cyanide, and the liquid effluent is clean, clear water,” the secretary explained.
Compared to the technology used by large-scale mining, which has an average of 75 percent recovery rate, the integrated gold-copper mining plant will be more efficient with an 85-90 percent recovery rate for 32 hours.
Small-scale miners and members of “Minahan ng Bayan” in Caraga region and neighboring areas are expected to benefit from the integrated gold-copper mineral processing plant, Dela Peña added.
He said the technology that will be used will be an enhanced gravity concentration-flotation-extraction process which ensures that waste materials the plant will dispose are safe and non-pollutant.
“The integrated non-mercury and non-cyanide mineral processing pilot plant is the first mining technology in the world which does not use harmful chemicals,” Dela Peña pointed out.
An estimated 20,000 small-scale miners in gold-rush areas of Mt. Diwalwal in Compostela Valley province and some parts in Caraga region handle mercury and other deadly chemicals with bare hands and no protective masks in spite of the warnings of health authorities.
The DOST secretary was in Butuan City to act as keynote speaker in the National Science and Technology Week celebration at Robinsons Place Butuan- Main Atrium here Tuesday, where other top officials from the different line agencies of the government are also in attendance, including local government unit officials.
The DOST secretary was also the guest of honor during the opening of the weeklong Caraga Agricultural Trade and Marketing Exposition 2017 (CARAT Expo 2017) that also kicked off here on Tuesday.
Dela Peña also spearheaded the launching of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology and Development (DOST-PCIEERD)-funded research program entitled “Geo-informatics for the Systematic Assessment of Flood Effects and Risks towards a Resilient Mindanao” (Geo-SAFER Mindanao) and other DOST projects on the same day here.