Two small-scale mining districts were investigated: Sibutad in Zamboanga del Norte on Mindanao, and several villages in Camarines Norte: Barangay Casalugan, Paracale; Barangay Luklukan, Jose Panganiban and Barangay Gumaus, Paracale on southern Lu- zon. A brief visit was also paid to milling stations for small-scale miners in Benguet North of Manila.
The main finding of the project was that the small-scale miners in the investigated commu- nities release excessive amounts of mercury. They use in the order of 10 to 25 grams of mercury to recover one gram of gold, whereas small-scale miners in other parts of the World use about one gram of mercury to recover one gram of gold. The small-scale miners visited in this project in the two areas release approximately 5 tonne of mercury every year. This result is in good agreement with previous investigations. A report by the Department of Health submitted to UNEP in 2001 concludes that some 140 tons of mercury is released annually to the environment from small-scale mining in Northern Mindanao1. These figures show that the gold extraction methods presently used by small-scale miners in large parts of the Philippines create a ticking bomb for the environment and for the health of the people of the Philippines. This ticking bomb can, however, with inexpensive means, mainly education, be disarmed.
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