The Mining Industry in the Philippines

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   Philippines is blessed with many Natural resources. From Agricultural land, Forest/Wildlife, to Minerals. That is why many Foreign countries are interested to invest (or in harsh term, to exploit) in our country. They are eying in our Mineral resources such as copper, gold, and petroleum  because of the demand in the world market. These investors continue their operations in the Philippines (after they "vacuum" all the minerals in other poor countires such as South Africa), and conduct exploration/search for copper, gold, petroleum, etc. After their exploration and bidding process, they will operate their businesses such as mining and do their "job" ASAP.

photo from this site


This article will not delve deeper into the mining industry in the Philippines. This is to give the reader(s) a background about mining and to give way to the next article called 'Mining in Tampakan'.


   According to the New Standard Encyclopedia, Mining is the extraction of mineral from earth. Mining includes the exrtaction of mineral resources from the ocean and the ocean floor. Mineral resources are nonliving natural substances of importance. Besides coal, metals, and Petroleum. the mining industry produces hundreds of other substances, from common salt and building stone to diamonds. Mining provides metal for tools and fuels for energy --- essential of technology. Mineral resources (unlike forests, and wildlife for example) are not renewable. Every nation on this planet experinced a decline in mining. The country then may become dependent on other countires for mineral imports. Competition among nations for access to mineral resources has impoertant effects on world trade and politics. (1)

Mining methods and procedures (2)

   Mining techniques can be divided into two common excavation types: surface mining and sub-surface (underground) mining. Surface mining is much more common, and produces, for example, 85% of minerals (excluding petroleum and natural gas) in the United States, including 98% of metallic ores. Targets are divided into two general categories of materials: placer deposits, consisting of valuable minerals contained within river gravels, beach sands, and other unconsolidated materials; and lode deposits, where valuable minerals are found in veins, in layers, or in mineral grains generally distributed throughout a mass of actual rock. Both types of ore deposit, placer or lode, are mined by both surface and underground methods.
    Processing of placer ore material consists of gravity-dependent methods of separation, such as sluice boxes. Only minor shaking or washing may be necessary to disaggregate (unclump) the sands or gravels before processing. Processing of ore from a lode mine, whether it is a surface or subsurface mine, requires that the rock ore be crushed and pulverized before extraction of the valuable minerals begins. After lode ore is crushed, recovery of the valuable minerals is done by one, or a combination of several, mechanical and chemical techniques.
   Some mining, including much of the rare earth elements and uranium mining, is done by less-common methods, such as in-situ leaching: this technique involves digging neither at the surface nor underground. The extraction of target minerals by this technique requires that they be soluble, e.g., potash, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, which dissolve in water. Some minerals, such as copper minerals and uranium oxide, require acid or carbonate solutions to dissolve.
    Surface mining is done by removing (stripping) surface vegetation, dirt, and if necessary, layers of bedrock in order to reach buried ore deposits. Techniques of surface mining include; Open-pit mining which consists of recovery of materials from an open pit in the ground, quarrying or gathering building materials from an open pit mine, strip mining which consists of stripping surface layers off to reveal ore/seams underneath, and mountaintop removal, commonly associated with coal mining, which involves taking the top of a mountain off to reach ore deposits at depth. Most (but not all) placer deposits, because of their shallowly buried nature, are mined by surface methods. Landfill mining, finally, involves sites where landfills are excavated and processed.
   Sub-surface mining consists of digging tunnels or shafts into the earth to reach buried ore deposits. Ore, for processing, and waste rock, for disposal, are brought to the surface through the tunnels and shafts. Sub-surface mining can be classified by the type of access shafts used, the extraction method or the technique used to reach the mineral deposit. Drift mining utilizes horizontal access tunnels, slope mining uses diagonally sloping access shafts and shaft mining consists of vertical access shafts. Mining in hard and soft rock formations require different techniques.
  Other methods include shrinkage stope mining which is mining upward creating a sloping underground room, long wall mining which is grinding a long ore surface underground and room and pillar which is removing ore from rooms while leaving pillars in place to support the roof of the room. Room and pillar mining often leads to retreat mining which is removing the pillars which support rooms, allowing the room to cave in, loosening more ore. Additional sub-surface mining methods include hard rock mining which is mining of hard materials, bore hole mining, drift and fill mining, long hole slope mining, sub level caving and block caving.

Underground Longwall mining

The environmental effects(3)
   The environmental impact of mining includes erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals from mining processes. In some cases, additional forest logging is done in the vicinity of mines to increase the available room for the storage of the created debris and soil. Besides creating environmental damage, the contamination resulting from leakage of chemicals also affect the health of the local population. Mining companies in some countries are required to follow environmental and rehabilitation codes, ensuring the area mined is returned to close to its original state. Some mining methods may have significant environmental and public health effects.

   Erosion of exposed hillsides, mine dumps, tailings dams and resultant siltation of drainages, creeks and rivers can significantly impact the surrounding areas, a prime example being the giant Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea. In areas of wilderness mining may cause destruction and disturbance of ecosystems and habitats, and in areas of farming it may disturb or destroy productive grazing and croplands. In urbanised environments mining may produce noise pollution, dust pollution and visual pollution.


The Philippine Mining Act of 1995

for more info click this site

Photos of mining operations in the Philippines






















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notes

(1) New Standard Encyclopedia, Vol.IX. Standard Educational Company Corp. 1988 
(2) http://www.whatismining.org/mining-methods-and-procedures-mining-techniques/
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_issues_with_mining



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This is the blog of G.V. Alfasain (or popularly known as Yadu Karu) where he shares his thoughts about current events, sustainable development and pop culture. He also shares success stories of modern day heroes to inspire his readers. The author hopes that this blog may contribute change in the (Philippine) society.
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