Mining Waste No More! An Alternative Technology Developed to Promote Responsible Mining

Large volumes of waste are produced at mining operations. This includes tailings, waste rocks, slags, mine water and gaseous wastes. Inappropriate management of wastes at mining operations can have environmental impact local communities and will contribute to the negative public perception of the mining industry.

To reduce the mining waste generated from mining, particularly the tailings, an alternative technology was developed to remediate mine tailings. A project under the S&T Program for Responsible Mining in Mindanao entitled “Development of an Alternative Technologies for Small-Scale Gold Mining in CARAGA and South Cotabato Region” led by Prof. Ephraim E. Ibarra and is implemented in MSU-IIT, was able to come up with feasible alternative technology for cyanidation and amalgamation of gold ore deposits.

Last August 5, 2015, the DOST-PCIEERD team headed by Dr. Carlos Primo David, new PCIEERD Director together with the monitoring staff for mining sector, member of the PCIEERD Governing Council and the Program Leader of Responsible Mining Program, Dr. Rowena P. Varela along with Engr. Noel M. Ajoc, DOST-Caraga Provincial Science and Technology Director assessed the machine performance and its potential promotion and commercialization in Caraga Region. The team had been working for the design of micron mill wave table for the gravity concentration. They demonstrated the research setup and the process of recovering gold from mine tailings.

The evaluators also visited the Red Clay Water Filter and improvised ceramics made from mine tailings and clay. This innovative product is also developed by the team of Prof. Ibarra. The water filter is designed using clay to cleanse water even with known contaminants. According to Prof. Ibarra, the improvised water filter gives assurance that the water is much cleaner and it is a cheaper alternative to water filters in the market. These are specially made from locally sourced red clay in Lanao del Norte. They are tagging the water filter as “Hydria”. Currently, they are crafting the proposal for submission to DOST-PCIEERD to continue the research and its commercialization.