Despite being inaugurated last April 5, the Caraga Mineral Testing and Research Laboratory is not expected to be fully operational until 2024, an executive said Monday.
“We are still in the process of acquiring equipment for the facility. If we (could) get the funds for this in 2023, it will fully operate in 2024. Environment-related tests would at least start in January 2023,” Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Caraga Director Noel Ajoc told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
The equipment will be funded through the General Appropriations Act, and the requested budget for the equipment cost was PHP40 million. The PHP15-million facility was funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways-Caraga, according to Ajoc.
“Once completed, this is the only mineral testing lab in Caraga. Caraga is number one in the country’s mining industry,” he said, citing Philippines Statistics Authority data.
The facility, Ajoc said, will provide analytical services like metal content analysis in support of the mineral industry in Caraga. Mineral processing and metal extraction research will also be conducted in this facility.
“We will do analytical tests on nickel and cobalt content of ores, gold content processed by small miners, and environment-related tests like heavy metals content. Once the equipment are acquired, extraction of metals like nickel, cobalt, chromium, gold, and copper from ore can also be done at the lab,” Ajoc said.
DOST Caraga will do the analytical services. Research and development (R&D), on the other hand, will be conducted by the DOST, higher education institutions, and student researchers.
Meanwhile, in a taped report, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the establishment of the Caraga Mineral Testing and Research Laboratory aims to provide highly equipped, accessible, and affordable analytical testing for mining companies in the region.
“It is also envisioned to serve as a facility for the conduct of R&D related to the mining industry, including mining wastes and wastewater management,” De la Peña said.
The facility is located at the DOST regional office in Ampayon, Butuan City.
Source: Philippines News Agency