Saturday, February 7, 2015

Small Scale Miner In Sagada, Mt. Province Dies After Getting Hit By A Dynamite Explosion

A small scale miner in the tourist town of Sagada died last week after a tragic accident inside a mine tunnel in barangay Fidelisan. According to a report by Bombo Radyo Baguio correspondent Edwin Dacanay, the victim who has been identified as Bul-ing Umaybas fell into the mine tunnel just when the dynamite that he and his companions lighted exploded.

Umaybas is 40 years old and a resident of barangay Aguid, also in Sagada. According to the report, Umaybas and fellow miners set up dynamites inside their tunnel. After lighting the fuse, they trooped out of the tunnel. Umaybas was supposed to be the last man heading to the exit. While rushing to get out of the tunnel, Umaybas lost his footing on the ladder and fell back into the tunnel. Just as he fell, the dynamites exploded inside. Umaybas reportedly perished on the spot. The body of Umaybas was brought to his home in Aguid.

Small scale miners use dynamites to dig deeper into the earth to look for ore. Aside from the dangers of the practice, there are also laws in the Philippines that regulate the usage of dynamites in mining. Most private mines in Sagada operate without licenses from the local government.
The tourist town of Sagada. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The small scale mining industry in Sagada grew in recent years. A lot of factors contributed to this steady growth of private mines in the town. Among these are the absence of other sources of income, the rising prices of gold, and the saturation in the mining industry in the nearby province of Benguet. To avoid the thousands of small scale miners that already operate within Benguet mining towns, locals in Sagada started looking for gold in places that are much closer to home.

A number of Sagada locals decry the damage to the environment that some of the mining tunnels had caused. An example is the huge scar on the side of a mountain just below barangay Aguid.

Rresidents of other towns in Mt. Province like Bontoc, Besao and Tadian also engage in small scale mining.

Related Articles:
1) Policeman In Sagada Ambushed By Suspected Members Of The New Peoples Army Or NPA
2) Two Soldiers In Sagada Passed Away After An Attack By The New Peoples Army