The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) is urging that existing laws be updated to regulate the use of explosives in small scale mining (SSM) operations.
“We wanted to regulate the use of explosives by amending that provision of the 1991 SSM Law that prohibits the use of explosives because in reality, they have been using it to develop the tunnels,” Wilfredo Moncano, MGB acting director, said.
Moncano said this could be a better solution since despite several arrests and cease and desist orders, SSM operators still find ways to illegally procure explosives.
“The government needs to update the antiquated provisions of the law to be attuned to the current situation,” he added.
Moncano explained that a regulated purchase of explosives by SSM operators based on their work programs and tunnel size for one month can be a good starting point for the proposal.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said it supports the government’s plan but under current laws, SSM operations are viewed as artisanal which prohibits the use of heavy equipment and explosives.