February 28, 2024

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera targets the approval of additional small-scale mining (SSM) contracts this year.

Engr. Brent Pagteilan of MGB-CAR reported during the Gold Trading Sub-committee meeting on Oct. 23 that there are 12 pending SSM contract applications for declared Minahang Bayan.

Five of the applications from Benguet were returned for compliance with the mandatory and processing requirements. Six applications are from Apayao and one from Abra.

Pagteilan said they expect the approval of the contract application of Ag-agit SSM and Multipurpose Cooperative in Licuan-Baay, Abra, which is already complying with the mandatory and processing requirements.

Memorandums of agreements were already signed with the Bulawan Land Owners SSM Association in Butao, Calanasan, Apayao and the YCalanasan Minahang Bayan Association in Eva Garden, also in Calanasan. 

A field-based investigation was already done with the other four applications in Apayao, and whoever finishes the process first will be given the contract this year, Pagteilan said.

For this year, two SSM contracts were approved in the region. These are the Northern Sagada Barangay SSM Association Small-Scale Mining Association Inc. in Fidelisan, Sagada, n Mountain Province that was approved on July 11, and the Loacan Itogon Pocket Miners Association in Loacan, Itogon, Benguet, that was approved on Sept. 21.

Pagteilan said even with the declaration of Minahang Bayan, small scale miners need to secure an SSM contract before they can operate.

Meanwhile, there are nine pending minahang bayan applications – one in Apayao, six in Benguet, one in Kalinga, and one in Mountain Province.

Pagteilan said some applications were returned for compliance with the additional requirements under Department Administrative Order 2022-03.

“Compared to the old DAO, the new DAO requires the list of elders and leaders from the NCIP. Another one is the consultation conducted by the mining board with the concerned leaders and elders of the IPs,” he said. – Debbie E. Gasingan