Iloilo City – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office 6 (MGB-6) says establishing a Minahang helps small-scale miners maximize the benefits of operating legally, such as the safety of workers while continuing with pursuing their livelihood from small-scale mining. MGB-6 Mine Management Division chief Engr. Florian D. Jimenez tackled the requirements for the declaration of a Minahang Bayan over DENR-6 radio program “Ikaw Kag Ang Imo Palibot” aired on August 22, 2021, on DYLL Radyo Pilipinas.
Engr. Jimenez said that under RA 7076, the government only allows small-scale mining operations within a declared People’s Small-Scale Mining Area or Minahang Bayan, “as mandated by Executive Order (EO) 79 and consistent with Republic Act 7076, or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act. This allows the government to better monitor and regulate small-scale mining activities and discourage illegal mining activities. This also puts in place mechanisms to ensure the safety of workers, environmental protection and accruing of revenues due to the government.”
Republic Act 7076 or the “People’s Small-scale Mining Act of 1991) declares the policy of the state “to promote, develop, protect and rationalize viable small-scale mining activities in order to generate more employment opportunities and provide an equitable sharing of the nation’s wealth and natural resources, giving due regard to existing rights.”
The Minahang Bayan is a mineralized area where a conglomerate of small-scale miners can apply for a Small Scale Mining Contract with each contract covering a maximum of twenty hectares each, Jimenez explained.
As provided by RA 7076, a small-scale mining contractor may be an individual or a cooperative of small-scale miners registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other appropriate government agency who enters into an agreement with the State for the small-scale utilization of a plot of mineral land within a people’s small-scale mining area, or Minahang Bayan.
Further, Department Administrative Order No. 2015-03 (DAO 2015-03) or the implementing rules and regulations of RA 7076 states that only three metallic minerals – gold, silver, and chromite – will be allowed for small-scale mining.
An interested individual or group of individuals will only have to submit a petition or proposal to the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) to declare an area as Minahang Bayan. And from this first step, the proponent has to comply with the requirements and procedures for the declaration of a Minahang Bayan as provided by laws and regulations.
In Region 6, Engr. Jimenez said that there a proposed Minahang Bayan in barangays Nueva Invencion, Sto. Tomas, and San Fernando, Barotac Viejo, and the process is on-going. Other proposed sites are in the provinces of Antique, Aklan and Negros Occidental.
Having a Minahang Bayan is beneficial both for the small-scale miners and the government. It can maximize the economic benefits from mining in the form of revenues and systematic monitoring of activities and implementation of environmental safeguards. Small-scale miners are also equipped technically and work hazards are duly addressed. (MGB-6)