Elusive yellow metal … Gold hunters sluice stones and gold ores for the elusive gold nuggets along the Patyaw river in Calogcog north of the Mambulao poblacion recently. The activity normally takes place every after heavy rain, which is believed to carry gold-laden earth and stones washed down from the mountain slopes of San Mauricio. This gold operation has damaged the quality of the river water, which flows into the Mambulao Bay nearby and deposits the gold tailings and silt there, making the bay brownish or murky. The municipal government has turned a blind eye to the harm that is being inflicted on the tributary, saying it has no authority to stop the gold hunters from their activities.
Mud on the shore … Children play on the muddy shore in Baranggay Bagong-bayan north of Mambulao poblacion. The mud came from the mine wastes of gold operations nearby. Notice the makeshift gold sluicing rigs in the bay water and the one next to the children. On a particular day, more than 10 gold operators could be sluicing for yellow metal particles and nuggets from the mine tailings that sit at the bottom of the bay. Their operations have made the beach water murky and unsuitable for healthy bathing or swimming. – Pictures by ERIC ESPANA, text by AP HERNANDEZ/MWBuzz