Small-scale mining remains Benguet economic driver

SMALL-SCALE mining in Benguet continues to be one of the prime industries in the province.

Following the high prices of gold and easy livelihood despite the risk, Benguet Small-Scale Mining Federation president Lomino Kaniteng said the industry remains the most steady economic driver in the province.

Kaniteng said small-scale mining alone employs 23,000 workers in the province.

“You will expect the increase of small scale mining when metal prices increase,” added Kaniteng.

As of 2012, about 60 kilograms of gold are produced by small-scale miners, which Kaniteng said, many benefited with about 80-100 Baguio gold traders and unlike vegetable farming where farmers wait for three months before harvest.

Eight municipalities in the province are currently involved in mining operations, namely, Mankayan, Bakun, Tublay, Atok, Itogon, Kabayan, Bokod, and Tuba.

In a recent profiling conducted by the BFSSMI, 50 percent of the small-scale miners in the province are migrants from the different provinces.

Kaniteng also remains hopeful of the pending application of the province for a minahang bayan.

“It is scheduled this year and hopefully it will be finished on first quarter next year,” Kaniteng said.

Benguet still have P8 million tons of minerals from gold, silver and copper.