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Photos during the meeting: Top, L-R:  RD Leo Van Juguan delivers his Opening Message; Ms. Janeth Morata of PSHS-EVC presents the initial results of the research. Bottom, L-R: Supervising Geologist Celestina Carranza presents the rationale/objectives of the collaborative research study; discussions with the results/conclusions

In view of its thrust to promote geological studies as an integral element of socio-economic development, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. VIII collaborated with the Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas Campus on a research study aimed to determine the possible presence of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) from the chromite and nickel laterite ores sampled from key locations in Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

Aside from the metal elements from chromite and nickel, the possible presence of REEs in these deposits are of great interest in the mining industry as such are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range applications, especially high technology consumer products.

The Eastern Visayas region is endowed with mineral resources needed for industrialization. The province of Eastern Samar, in particular, has substantial deposits of bauxite, nickel, chromite and copper. The laterite deposits are known to occur in the Islands of Homonhon and Manicani.  The economic importance of these deposits is based largely on its iron, chrome and nickel contents.

MGB-08 believes that the extensive chromite and nickel laterite deposits in the islands are of great interest for research because of the broad exploration and extraction in these areas. Likewise, inadequate understanding of these deposits may result in undervaluing and/or underutilization of these commodities.

The samples used for the research study were analyzed using the school’s Agilent 4210 MP-AES, a high sensitivity atomic emission spectrometer which is the perfect alternative to the traditional flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) technique.

Initial results of the study presented during a meeting, revealed that the different mining sites at Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar contain deposits of both lateritic nickel and chromite based on the profile of metals obtained. The ores contain high percentages of iron, and varying amounts of cobalt, manganese and magnesium. Also, other metals such as copper, zinc and silver were found in trace amounts.

RD Leo Van Juguan stressed that the end result of this collaborative effort between MGB-08 and PSHS-EVC could redound to the crafting of policies that will better maximize the utilization of mineral resources for national development.