Paeope Ovasuru | Post Courier
Coal, one of the world’s largest sources of fuel, can become one of Papua New Guinea’s source of income like gold and copper.
Despite having a strong mineral and petroleum industry, coal deposits have never been extensively explored.
In the early 1900s, patrols recorded a number of coal deposits in the upper reaches of Kikori, Purari and Era rivers, though initial attempts to exploit these deposits were overcome by limitations of both access and technology.
Waterford PNG, a company dedicated to developing a viable coal industry in the country, conducted coal explorations towards PNG’s western border in 2010.
At the same time, Oil Search also tried to access the coal bed methane (CBM) in Western Province. Though their exploration did not yield, they found coal bearing strata and a number of petroleum wells had encountered coal measures at varying depths.
Waterford has now approached Mineral Resources Authority to undertake a study of coal’s potential economic benefit to the country.
The main aim of the study now is to identify potential CBM and coal resource areas and provide basics for a future coal and CBM industry.
For the Waterford project, the data has been collated to provide partial coverage of the western half of PNG.
The locations of 357 petroleum exploration and production wells were compiled from DPE and are estimated to capture 90 percent of the existing data in the area of interest.
Waterford is hopeful that a surface coal industry may one day be developed.
If successful, the company predicts the development of a surface coal industry close to waterways followed by larger inland mines with access to existing roads.