Gold mining in the Philippines can be traced hundreds of years back before the colonizers came to the country. As early as 1521, our ancestors were already panning gold and have decorated themselves with gold accessories. As years passed, the growth of the mining industry has increased. In 1995, Philippine Mining Act was passed which the government allowed foreign companies to fully operate in the country; it created backlash from Filipinos stating that they should be the only ones to mine their own resources but the government still allowed it for large investments coming from foreign companies which will boost the economy. 1
The country’s mining industry was also ignited by the legend of Yamashita’s treasure. The legend has attracted tourists and curious treasure seekers to look out for the supposed ‘treasure’ of gold that the Japanese Army had hidden in the different parts of the country. 2
It seems that gold mining is a lucrative business. But is mining helpful to the country?
Mining have garnered vast impacts in every aspect of the country.
It boosts the economy by letting the mining companies give the government its share of their profits. But only a margin of profits is being given to the government. According to Governor Joey Salceda of Albay, “which hosts the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project, only received P3.4 million from the mining company’s revenues. The company’s export value reached P7.7 billion.” The profit that was being given by the mining company should be for infrastructures and other government-funded projects but according to him the P3.4 million was not sufficient.3
Gold mining also gives work to Filipinos. But these kinds of work are very dangerous in nature. Many lives are at risk but Filipinos continue to work despite of it. We can’t argue that mining is one, if not the most, dangerous jobs in the world. Alarming as it is, child labor is also rampant in the...