CMRB inspects small scale mines in Baguio

Three small scale mining areas in Baguio City were visited in a joint ocular inspection held Wednesday, 30 October 2019 led by the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) and the City Mining Regulatory Board (CMRB).

During the inspection, several adits were found in small scale mining (SSM) areas in Sitio Uabac, Camp 7 operated by individual miners; 13 adits in Kias operated by the Emerald SSM Multipurpose Cooperative; and some old adits in Atok Trail.

MGB Cordillera Regional Director Faye Apil said the CMRB scheduled the ocular inspection after receiving complaints of SSM operations in the city despite the issuance of mining ban by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Result of the ocular inspection will be submitted to Mayor Benjamin Magalong as basis whether or not the CMRB will be reconstituted.

While the CMRB has not be formally reconstituted, Apil said SSM operations will not be allowed.

In Camp 7, the CMRB have seen the lack of tailings treatment facilities and waste managament. While some of the mining areas have ceased operations, some continue to dig and take out rocks beleived to have gold.

In Kias and Atok Trail, miners have ceased their operation and are awaiting the update from CMRB if they can continue their livelihood.

Over a hundred miners listened attended the dialouge with MGB and the CMRB technical working group held in Atok Trail as closing conference of the ocular inspection.

Atty. Leoncio Na-oy, SSM representative to the CMRB hopes that with the ocular inspection, guidelines will be crafted to eventually allow mining as a livelihood in areas where such activity have been in existence with responsible mining as a commitment.

The miners were asking for a timeframe for them to resume their livelihood but Apil said a lot of issues has to be addressed first paryicularly the reconsitution of the CMRB and if the city government officials would allow SSM in Baguio

"We will request city to provide additional TWG members and for them to validate the result of our ocular inspection. Also, their is a need to assess existing mining areas if these are suitable as residential or if we can allow SSM activities," Apil said.

"If we cannot use these lands for residential then might as well use it for mining," Apil stressed. She also supports mining tourism as an alternative livelihood for miners.

In Atok Trail, Punong Barangay Federico Codley said that before mining was halted by the DENR, they used to implement a mining tourism activity where they bring students and pupils to the existing mine sites and let them experience the actual process of mining.

The CMRB hopes to be able to submit their report before the end of November and seek an audience with the mayor and the city council before December 15.

CMRB NGO representative Julie Cabato also requested the miners to prepare their hazard maps and to complete their documents for permit processing.

"You have to know the histprt of your mining operation sites including uts status if under mineral site resrrvation so you can inform the city officials," Cabato said.

Per MGB record, Camp 7 has a mining area of 4.9 hectares, 1.5 hectares in Atok Trail 1.5 and 4.6 hectares in Kias. - Jessa Mardy Samidan