Signing of Pledge 2

Paving the Way to Responsible Small-scale Gold Mining:

Camarines Norte Provincial Mining Regulatory Board Institutionalizes Efforts to Reduce Mercury Use through the planetGOLD Philippines Project


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PMRB MOA Signing Cam Norte
From left to right: Johnson Gold Mining Corporation Acting Resident Manager Engr. Darwyn Morada, SMBC Vice President Shirley Suzara, Camarines Norte Governor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla, planetGOLD Philippines National Project Manager Abigail Ocate, and MGB Region V Science Research Specialist II Yancey Seve Guinto takes a group photo after the MOA signing ceremony.

DAET, CAMARINES NORTE – To further strengthen and institutionalize efforts in reducing mercury use in Camarines Norte, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the Camarines Norte Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) and the Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) Philippines, through the planetGOLD Philippines Project. The MOA signifies the partnership of the parties to collaborate on and support the development of the small-scale mining sector in the province.

Present during the ceremony were representatives from the Provincial Government of Camarines Norte (PGCN), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region V, PMRB, Samahan ng mga Minero sa Barangay Casalugan (SMBC), and Johson Gold Mining Corporation.

To provide an overview of the MOA, planetGOLD Philippines National Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Mildred Arucan ran through the partnership’s objectives and the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved.

Mildred Arucan PMRB MOA Signing 1
The planetGOLD Philippines National Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Mildred Arucan provided an overview of the MOA.

Governor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla expressed his support for the Project's vision of a safer, cleaner, more profitable and responsible artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector (ASGM) in the province–which is in line with his administration’s priorities. “Since the time that I was the Mayor of Jose Panganiban, my advocacy has been to have environmentally-balanced, progressive, and sustainable mining in the province of Camarines Norte. We always wonder if there really is a future in ASGM. I always tell our small-scale miners here in the province that they should have learned already, especially when it comes to the issue of environmental degradation because we have seen the impact of mining to our environment.”

Dong Ricarte Padilla
Camarines Norte Governor Dong Padilla highlights his administration’s efforts in promoting sustainable mining in the province

The ceremonial signing was led by planetGOLD Philippines National Project Manager Abigail Ocate and MGB Region V Science Research Specialist II Yancey Seve Guinto representing PMRB Chairperson and MGB Region V Director Engr. Guillermo Molina, Jr. IV.

Abigail Ocate PMRB MOA2
The National Project Manager Abigail Ocate shares the project's commitment in helping the ASGM sector

During her speech, Ocate emphasized the crucial role of the government in the sustainability of the Project’s efforts. “While we know that strengthening our partnership with the miners is essential, we recognize the critical role of the government in ensuring that our initiatives will be sustained. Ultimately, it is the government that can help protect small-scale miners, even beyond the life of the Project. Our best practices and lessons learned from this combined effort will benefit other small-scale mining areas in other regions.”

Guinto shared how the construction of a  mercury-free processing system (MFPS) in Paracale, Camarines Norte will help in balancing environmental protection and responsible mining. He highlighted the commitments of the PMRB as stipulated in the MOA. “As for the PMRB, we will ensure that the MFPS from AGC will be used accordingly and will be taken care of through the creation of our Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT), which will evaluate the future performance of the MFPS recipients. We will ensure that our miners are well equipped with the knowledge on mining responsibly and safely.” The MMT shall be created by the PMRB through policy issuance and shall be responsible for monitoring and evaluating post-Project activities.

After the MOA signing ceremony, Governor Padilla introduced and led the “Collective Pledge for People and Planet”, a commitment and support statement for the protection of the health and environment of the ASGM community. By taking part in the collective pledge, representatives joined the campaign in making an environmentally and economically-sustainable ASGM industry in the Philippines.

Pledge PMRB MOA 2
Camarines Norte Governor Padilla leads the “Collective Pledge for People and Planet” after the MOA signing ceremony. Expressing their commitment are Johnson Gold Mining Corporation Acting Resident Manager Engr. Morada, SMBC Vice President Suzara, MGB Region V Guinto, and planetGOLD Philippines National Project Manager Ocate.

On behalf of the Small-Scale Mining Representative to the Camarines Norte PMRB Mr. Wilfredo Golez, SMBC Vice President Shirley Suzara shared how the MFPS will help small-scale mining communities in preventing the negative effects of mercury and creating a better future for the younger generation. “Napakalaking tulong po ng pagtatayo ng MFPS, lalo na sa aming mga small-scale miners. Ito po talaga ‘yung matagal na po naming hinihingi. Gusto namin na balang araw, ang aming mga anak ay may malalanghap na malinis na hangin kaya kaisa niyo po kami sa pagsusulong ng responsible mining.” [The construction of the MFPS is a great help, especially to us small-scale miners. This is what we have been asking for for a very long time. We hope that one day, our children can breathe clean air. That's why we are with you in pushing for responsible mining.]

Shirley Suzara PMRB
SMBC Vice President Suzara gave a message during the MOA signing
RIGHT: Engr. Morada of Johnson Gold Mining Corporation ended the program with a closing message.
Engr. Morada of Johnson Gold Mining Corporation ended the program with a closing message.

The ceremony ended with a closing message from Engr. Darwyn Morada, Acting Resident Manager and Pollution Control Officer of the Johson Gold Mining Corporation. In his message, he hoped that the MFPS in Paracale would be a start in reducing mercury use in the province. “Marami na ang naging attempts sa Jose Panganiban at Paracale sa paggamit ng cyanide as alternative to gold recovery processing. Through the AGC, we hope na itong pagpapatayo ng MFPS ang maging simula.” [There have already been a lot of attempts in Jose Panganiban and Paracale to promote cyanide as an alternative during gold recovery processing. Through the AGC, we hope that the construction of MFPS will be the starting point for it.]

The planetGOLD Philippines Joins the 19th Bantayog Festival of Camarines Norte with the Behind the Gold Rush Photo Exhibit

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Students from Camarines Norte take a group photo at the Behind The Gold Rush photo exhibit during the opening day of the 19th Bantayog Festival.

In observance of the 103rd founding anniversary of the province, the Camarines Norte Provincial Tourism Operations Office kicked off the month-long celebration of the 19th Bantayog Festival on 9 April to 6 May 2023 with the theme “Progresibong Turismo, Tayo Mismo!”

In line with the celebration of the sustained partnership with the PGCN through the MOA signing, planetGOLD Philippines joined the festivities through a photo exhibition to recognize the province’s ASGM sector and the CamNorteños (people of Camarines Norte) behind it. 

Opened on 17 April 2023 during the Bantayog Agri-Tourism Trade Fair, the Daet leg celebrated and recognized the contributions of men and women in the ASGM industry across different sectors–from the national and local government, non-government, private, academic, and the mining communities themselves. Entitled “Behind the Gold Rush: A Photo Exhibition Featuring People Advocating for the Advancement of ASGM in the Philippines'', the activity highlighted the positive narratives surrounding the ASGM industry by emphasizing the opportunities in the sector, the stories and shared experiences of the ASGM Champions.

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A participant wins a planetGOLD Philippines tumbler from joining the Trivia Game.

Started in April 2005, the Bantayog Festival is a historical event that pays tribute to one of the National Heroes of the Philippines Dr. Jose Rizal, and the local patriots who took part in the 1898 Daet Revolt. It also serves as a day to celebrate the creation and independence of the province. Bantayog Festival takes inspiration from the First Rizal Monument, one of Camarines Norte’s historical landmarks and markers. The monument was erected in honour of Dr. Jose Rizal.

The planetGOLD Philippines project is implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme, and United Nations Industrial Development Organization, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and executed by the Artisanal Gold Council.

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