Alluvial Mining Employs 80,000 in PNG

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

Alluvial Mining Activities In The Country Are Largely Unregulated, According To The PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) Report 2014.

Post Courier | August 2, 2017

Alluvial mining activities in the country are largely unregulated, according to the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) Report 2014.
This leaves authorities and stakeholders with limited information about this segment of the mining industry. According to the report, alluvial mining accounted for 120,000 ounces of gold, representing around six percent of the total gold mined in PNG and K373.4 million in export revenue. Some 49,000 ounces of silver were also produced, to the value of K2.3 million.
“The Mining Act 1992 allows people to mine for alluvial minerals on their own land by non-mechanical means without the need for a mining licence,” the report said.
“Ninety percent of alluvial miners in PNG use rudimentary sluice boxes and gold panning dishes.”
This sector is therefore largely unregulated, and there is limited information about its size. The MRA estimates that there are up to 80,000 small-scale miners in this category.”
The report states that to date, over 4,000 of these have completed training at the Mineral Resource Authority’s small-scale mining centre in Wau, Morobe.
“Small-scale mining conducted with powered machinery requires an Alluvial Mining Lease or Mining Lease (for alluvial purposes) from the MRA. The former are granted for up to five hectares of land that is a riverbed and extends no further than 20 metres from any riverbed. The latter may cover up to 60km2. There is a requirement for a minimum 51 percent ownership by PNG nationals. In 2014, there were 183 current Alluvial Mining Leases and 136 Mining Leases (for alluvial purposes).
Alluvial miners sell their gold to traders, who then on-sell it to one of 16 licensed exporters, regulated by the Bank of PNG.
The MRA checks the export forms and raises levies on the export. The MRA felt that levels of illegal export were low, but other estimates have suggested this could be as high as to be an equivalent volume to the official quantity recorded,” the report said.
PNGEITI head of National Secretariat Lucas Alkan said alluvial mining and associated activities contributed to the economic wellbeing of a good number of people living in remote parts of the country. “This warrants putting in place strong coordination and regulatory mechanisms to keep track of opportunities and challenges that someone engaged in alluvial mining is faced with.”
“Taking an inclusive government approach in regulating different facets of the mining industry is important. In this way, we can give every participant a fair shake,” he said.

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Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

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