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Chamber of Mines renews call for crackdown on illegal small-scale mining
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) has again called on government to intensify its campaign against illegal small-scale mining (SSM) activities after reports that another landslide, this time caused by Tropical Depression Amang, resulted in the death of four and the disappearance of three small-scale miners in Mount Mahupaw, Agusan del Norte.
COMP believes that incidents like this can be avoided if SSM activities, including their safety practices and environmental performance, are closely monitored under the Minahang Bayan setup recognized by the government.
In the eyes of many, the largely illegal SSM operations with their safety and environmental problems are lumped together with the formal large-scale sector, which contributes to the poor image of the entire industry. These operations do not follow the same stringent safety and environment standards required of legitimate large-scale mining operators.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau estimates that more than 60% of the gold mined in the Philippines are from unregulated SSM operations. Apart from endangering the lives of poor mining workers and destroying the environment, illegal SSMs do not pay taxes.