Two workers from the government mining office of Mozambique recently visited South Cotabato to train on Mercury-Free Mining in the municipality of T’boli.
Mining Engineer Antonio Cumbane, and Geologist Helena Vaz, was accompanied by Bantoxics, an international NGO strongly advocating for mercury-free mining particularly on small-scale mining (SSM), to a ball mil plant in Poblacion, T’boli.
The two witnessed first-hand the different processes involved in mining gold using borax as a substitute to mercury.
Borax, also known as Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate and one of the most important boron compounds, was said to have been used by Kalingas in Luzon during the 1900s in extracting gold.
Jimbea Lucino and Eve Cubelo of Bantoxics personally discussed step-by-step the processes on how to extract gold using borax to the visitors.
“Miners here are using the gravity concentration method in mercury-free mining,” Lucino explained, as the 2 mining experts listened intently and took notes on their writing pad.
The ball mill site where the short training was conducted is owned by Retired Army Col. Ronald Lee Bungalos, who had been practicing mercury-free mining since he started his SSM plant last year.
Bantoxics was able to discover it when one of its employees revealed it during a training session they conducted in T’boli.
Meanwhile, Cumbane who worked at the Instituto Geologico Mineiro based in Maputo the capital of Mozambique together with Vaz, disclosed during an interview by this writer that they will introduce the “mercury-free” gravity concentration method in their country.
“Mercury is global problem,” Cumbane stressed, ”so we will help eradicate the use of it in small-scale mining.”
He also revealed, there are currently around 900 companies venturing in SSM in their country.
“Mozambique is a mineral rich country. We have gold, coal, heavy sands, bauxite, granite and precious gem stones such as ruby, emerald, aquamarine, etc,” he further said.
The two completed their immersion in T’boli for 2 days and flew back to Mozambique after 7 days in the country.
Bantoxics also disclosed that aside from mercury-free mining advocacy, they will also aggressively pushed for an ” Eco-Waste Free” Philippines, particularly their strong objection on the dumping of First World Nations of their eco-wastes in our country.