The mining ban on small-scale miners operating in the South Cotabato province in The Philippines has been lifted by the regional Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

The ban had been in place for nine months and affected about 150 gold mining tunnels in T’boli, South Cotabato, reports.

The closed gold mining tunnels include 21ha that the T’boli Minahang Bayan multipurpose cooperative and the native Maguan clan were in dispute over, the news service said.

Prior to the closure, the Maguan clan applied for permission to mine in the site known to contain rich gold mineralisation, stating that it was part of their ancestral domain claim.

The land forms part of an 85ha site, known as the T’boli project, previously awarded to Tribal Mining by the government.

The T’boli project has deposits of 2.4 million tons, containing 420,000oz of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver, reports.