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World

Artisanal mines gold in the Philippines

Some 300,000 other miners in the Philippines, rely on the artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) industry as their main source of income. ASGM takes place in more than half of the provinces in the Philippines, producing 80 percent of its gold supply.

Most of the miners work at unregulated and illegal mining sites that rely heavily on mercury to extract gold. Miners work without proper protective gear and handle this toxic liquid metal with their bare hands, which can cause serious damage to their health, the community and the environment.

Mercury is used to attract and bind gold, usually mixed by hand in a pan to form a clay-like amalgam, which is squeezed to let out the excess liquid.

The amalgam is then heated using a blowtorch to burn off the mercury, leaving behind the gold, but also releasing poisonous mercury vapor into the air.

Mercury attacks the central nervous system causing headaches, brain damage and in some cases, death.

Noel Austria and Domingo Chávez working in two mining towns in the eastern province of Camarines Norte, know for its abundance of gold.
Austria has been mining for 15 years and has survived two accidents, including one where he was trapped underground for three hours after the walls inside a mine tunnel collapsed.
On the other hand, Chávez works in a compression extraction site, which works with a gas generator connected to a small tube that provides air for miners like him to breath underwater.
By rocks

As these miners don’t use lights when they go under the water, this work is literally a grope in the dark for rocks that could contain gold, which they break off and send back up.

Despite the dangers of compression mining, it is cheaper than other methods because it doesn’t require electricity, only gas for the generator.

On a slow day, he might find only 300 pesos ($6) worth of gold, and on better ones as much as 1,500 pesos ($29.60).

In October 2013, the Philippines signed the Minamata Convention but has yet to ratify the agreement that addresses human activities to reduce mercury pollution.

The United Nations and independent non-governmental environmental organization BAN Toxics are working to reform the ASGM sector in the Philippines and around the world under the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Global Opportunities for Long-term Development (GOLD) Program.

The program focuses on mercury-free technologies, improving livelihoods by connecting miners directly to markets, and allowing miners to work safely and legally by introducing ASGM-friendly policy and permit systems. (December 5, 2017, EFE/PracticaEspañol)

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Question 1
La noticia habla sobre...
A
Las riquezas naturales de oro de Filipinas.
B
Las minas ilegales de oro en Filipinas.
C
Los suministros de oro y mercurio a Filipinas
Question 2
Dice la noticia que los artesanos filipinos del oro...
A
unen mercurio con las manos para hacer oro.
B
al oro de sus manos le suman el mercurio.
C
los mineros unen el oro con sus manos, usando mercurio.
Question 3
Según la noticia...
A
los mineros solo quieren trabajar el mercurio y no el vapor.
B
el mercurio suelta un vapor venenoso y los mineros no tienen protección.
C
el mercurio es muy tóxico y los trabajadores no quieren protección.
Question 4
Según la noticia, Filipinas ha firmado un convenio para reducir la contaminación por mercurio:
A
verdadero
B
no se sabe
C
falso
Question 5
Dice el texto de la noticia que .
A
al menos 300.000 filipinos trabajan en minas para sacar oro.
B
300.000 filipinos se exponen a morir a causa del mercurio .
C
las minas irregulares son las de mercurio y no las del oro
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