Officers and researchers from the Philippines and United Kingdom visited the abandoned mine site of Palawan Quicksilver Mines, Inc. (PQMI) in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, March 5, as part of the Minerals and Mining in the Philippine Scoping Workshop held in the city.
Organized by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the said workshop intended to identify the challenges affecting the Philippines’ mining sector, and explore the gaps and opportunities for a research program to help address these.
PQMI project manager Engr. Alvin Requimin, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) MIMAROPA Region, oriented the participants with a background of the abandoned mine site, and the challenges to the rehabilitation project that the Bureau and the City Government of Puerto Princesa are facing – the relocation of remaining settlers within the identified buffer zone, the health condition of residents, and issues on land ownership, among others.
Following the orientation is a tour of the structures within the abandoned mine site of PQMI in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes in Puerto Princesa City, including the jetty and the nearby sanitary landfill.
The second phase of the PQMI rehabilitation project centered on the efforts to treat the mercury-contaminated site.
Since the start of the rehabilitation project, the MGB MIMAROPA Region has been partnering with research teams from the DOST, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, the University of the Philippines, and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, with regard to the control and management of mercury contamination in the area.
The DOST has already granted funding for the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) research project which seeks to determine the extent of mercury concentration in surface water and groundwater, and the exposure pathways in the abandoned mine.