Tag Archives: artisanal mining

PNG EITI report gives lie to mining propoganda

Ignorant politicians and the foreign mining companies who feed them love to tell us how dependent Papua New Guinea is on large-scale mining and petroleum extraction.

The 2014 EITI Report gives the lie to those claims.

EITI finds petroleum and mining contributed only 12.7% of government revenues in 2014 and a measly 2.5 – 10% of formal sector jobs.

PNG LNG employs less than 2,000 local workers, in contrast, there are 80,000 small-scale miners working in the informal sector with little or no government support!

PNGEITI Releases Findings For 2014 Report

Post Courier | June 19, 2017

THE petroleum and mining sector contributed 12.7 percent of government revenue in 2014 compared with 7.5 percent in 2013.

This is according to the PNG Extractive Industry Initiative Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) 2014 Report, released this year

The report states this increase correlated with the commencement of the PNG LNG project.

It states the total value of mineral exports from PNG mines for 2014 was K17, 522.5 million comprising 84.18 percent of total export value.

It noted the government’s attempts through policy intervention to manage such fluctuations, as in the case of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and promoting investment in the non-extractive sector of the economy.

In stark contrast to the total export value the industry represents, the extractive industry provides limited direct employment, with estimates running from 2.5 percent to 10 percent of PNG’s formal workforce.

“However, it directly supports a significant proportion of employment across the economy. During the construction, the PNG LNG Project provided up to 21,200 jobs (in 2012), while in operations, it employs around 2, 400 workers (as at December 2015), 75 percent of whom were PNG citizens” the report stated.

“There are also up to 80,000 small-scale miners, largely working outside the formal economy” it said.

Head of the PNGEITI Lucas Alkan said for the first time in this country, “we have published a comprehensive and detailed report covering the extractive sector, and they provide a reliable source of information for public use”.

“We are already working on the next two reports based on 2015 and 2015 financial years and these will be published in December,” he said.


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Where has US$17 million from the World Bank gone?

US$17 million has been spent – but on what?

  • Have benefits from the extractive industries to the national budget improved?
  • Have benefits to mining affected communities improved?
  • And have the health and safety risks for artisanal miners been mitigated?

world bank mining assistance

World Bank funding project for mining closes

PNG Loop

Representatives of the beneficiary of the US$17 million World Bank Technical Assistance 2 (WBTA2) project to Papua New Guinea’s Mining Sector have met at the Mineral Resources Authority last week.

They gave presentations on their achievements, challenges and recommendations as to whether a similar assistance package should be considered by the World Bank and the PNG Government.

The WBTA2 which started in 2009 is a follow-up of WBTA1 (2000-2006).

This year’s WBTA2 project to Papua New Guinea’s Mining Sector officially closed on Tuesday June 30.

The development objectives of the project are aimed at improving benefits from the extractive industries to the national budget, mining affected communities, and to mitigate mining’s health and safety risks for artisanal miners.

The project was implemented in four components:

  1. Strengthening the policy and regulatory frameworks for mining sector by the Department of Mineral Policy & Geohazards Management (DMPGM);
  2. Strengthening the mining sector governance, regulation, and sustainable development outcomes by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA);
  3. Improving revenue collection and audits of the sector by the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC); and
  4. Strengthening the foundation for a conflict-free mining sector in Bougainville by the Autonomous Bougainville Government Department of Mineral Energy and Resources (ABG DoMER).

MRA managing director Philip Samar said the government expected to write to the World Bank requesting a similar kind of assistance as WBTA2.

He pledged MRA’s support and willingness to manage WBTA3 if it is approved by the World Bank.

Meanwhile, World Bank country manager for PNG, East Asia and the Pacific Region Stefanie Stallmeister, said the bank was happy to have been associated with the different government agencies and assist Papua New Guineans through the government, given the importance of mining sector to the country’s economic welfare

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Solomon’s women: ‘we’re better off without the mine’

‘women are really happy since the mine has closed’

‘families are earning $180 per day’

An artisanal miner from Nusuta village in Solomon Islands showing the gold produced from two to three hours work at the Charivunga river, Gold Ridge. Photo: Copyright Matthew Allen, February 2015.

An artisanal miner from Nusuta village in Solomon Islands showing the gold produced from two to three hours work at the Charivunga river, Gold Ridge. Photo: Copyright Matthew Allen

Money flows to casual gold diggers in Solomons

Radio New Zealand

Around 200 people in Solomon Islands have set up camps in the pits at the closed Gold Ridge mine on Guadalcanal and have taken over gold production at the site.

The local goldminers met and spoke with Australian National University researcher, Matthew Allen, during his trip to the mine in February.

Dr Allen who is studying the political economy of mining in Melanesia and is currently in Bougainville says the women in some of the families say they are earning more money mining for themselves than they ever did when the mine was operating.

“The women were really happy that since the mine has closed access to the pits has been much easier for them and has been providing them with direct access to cash income which they can use for things like school fees and for taking their kids to clinics and to the hospital and so forth.”

Dr Allen says the miners are using very basic methods, digging up the ore and washing it out in streams over astroturf-like material to catch the gold.

He says a family can produce five grams of gold on average per day which they sell to local gold dealers for US$22 per gram, which is a substantial income by Solomon Islands standards.

Listen to the full interview with Matthew Allen on Dateline Pacific ( 5 min 58 sec)

A man from Nusuta village in Solomon Islands digs for ore in Gold Ridge's pit 3 also known as Kupers. Photo: Copyright Matthew Allen

A man from Nusuta village in Solomon Islands digs for ore in Gold Ridge’s pit 3 also known as Kupers. Photo: Copyright Matthew Allen

Full Transcript

Around 200 people in Solomon Islands have set up camps in the pits at the closed Gold Ridge mine on Guadalcanal and have taken over gold production at the site.

The local gold miners met and spoke with Australian National University Researcher, Matthew Allen, during his trip to the mine in February.

Dr Allen, who is studying the political economy of mining in Melanesia, told Koroi Hawkins the women in some of the families he spoke to say they are earning more money mining for themselves than they ever did when the mine was operating.

MATTHEW ALLEN: When I visited the mine pits I estimated that on any given day there were up to 200 people, so men, women and children from the surrounding communities. Particularly from those communities in the immediate vicinity of the mine pits engaged in alluvial mining on any given day. But my sense is that since the operation has ceased in April last year people have actually moved into the pits and are living in the pits. You know people have built temporary housing and shelters. So there are many people actually, you know as we speak living in the pits and engaged in small scale gold production, gold panning on a daily basis.

KOROI HAWKINS: And how sophisticated or what kind of equipment are they using?

MA: Well it is not very sophisticated and you know this type of mining is often referred to as artisanal mining which by definition means that it is low technology. So people are more or less digging out ore and then panning it in the rivers or in other water sources, streams and so on. The most technical it gets is, I guess, fuel-powered or I guess petrol or diesel-powered water pumps which are then used to kind of hose down the ore body. The gold is then collected using kind of astroturf-like materials. So it is all fairly low technology. However people are making pretty good money from it so my interviews with people involved in this alluvial mining indicate that often it is that people are mining in kind of small family units, nuclear family units. So a family might produce around 5 grams of gold on average per day which is then sold to local buyers for around 180 Solomon Islands dollars (per gram). So as far as Solomon Islands goes that’s a pretty good cash income. Now it is really important I mention this small scale mining activity that is going on is that it provides women and indeed children with direct access to cash income. And when I spoke to women, communities from the Gold Ridge land owning communities they were really  unanimous in their view that when the mine was operating the royalty and rental payments which were going to the three land owner associations were basically controlled by men who would often use the money irresponsibly, to use their words. So you know the women were really happy that since the mine has closed, access to the pits has been made much easier for them and has been providing them with direct access to cash income which they can use for things like school fees and for taking their kids to clinics and to the hospital and so forth.

KH: Just wrapping this all up what do you see as the mine’s future and if a new developer does come in these people will I presume. have to be evicted again because they had to do it initially?

MA: Look I think the mine has had a very problematic history. It’s had a short history and it has been very checkered. You know it has opened and closed again on two occasions now. It’s changed hands many times in terms of the owner operator. Obviously there are now significant liabilities for any potential buyer I would imagine. You know, particularly given the tailings dam situation. My understanding is that for much of the time during which St Barbara operated the mine it was very economically marginal. In fact I understand they were operating at a loss due to a combination of low gold prices and very high operating costs. And I think that the expectations on the part of the land owner associations are very high so they will looking to negotiate a new agreement with any new potential operator which will give them more favorable terms. In fact there was a report just recently in one of the daily newspapers in Solomon Islands in which the chair of one of the associations was calling for a joint venture so a 50-50 equity partnership with any new operator that may come in to run the mine.



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Alluvial mining helps rural families


Bustin Anzu | PNG Loop

Mimingo Aaron left his Kapo village in Menyamya in Morobe Province almost 10 years ago with her family in search of a better life.

The roads were not reachable and the government services were hard to come.

But like other ordinary Papua New Guineans, they want a lifestyle that is enjoyable and easily accessible.

She and her husband Aaron decided to join their wantoks at Fine Top village, just near Bulolo town.

There, they fitted in well with their wantoks. The school was just down the road.

When one of her nine children is sick, she can quickly rush them to the Bulolo Hospital.

She can also travel to Lae city in the morning to buy her goodies and return home to Fine Top village the same day.

Money was easy to find through alluvial mining daily.

She said at first, she find it difficult to pan the dishes for gold dust. She learned the skills quickly and weeks later it was just another daily chore.

Two of her eldest children attend the nearby Fine Top Primary School. The others helped her with the gold penning.

Mimingo said she collects close to a K100 worth of gold dust daily.

“I collect close to K100 daily. I come back the next day and collect the same amount.

“I collect the whole grams and sell them to the local black market,” she said with a smile.

The happy hard working mother said the money is enough to feed her family and to provide for other basic needs like school fees for children, clothing, buy store foods and PMV fares to Lae city.

She said this is better for the family then staying at her Kapo village back at Menyamya where roads to basic government services is in accessible.

Mimingo said while she is busy penning the gold, her husband Aaron stays home and helps to look after their 12-months-old daughter.

After this interview with PNG Loop, Mimingo returned to the dirty Bulolo River to continue with her daily chore of penning for gold.

Husband Aaron said this is part of their life, which makes their life easier.

He said this is better than nothing if they were at their village in rural Menyamya.

Children in the area also take part in alluvial gold mining along the banks of Bulolo River.

Other villagers are also doing the same, penning the gold on this festive season.

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More troops sent to Porgera to defend Barrick operations

What sort of ‘development’ needs troops to be continuously deployed in local communities?

Is this really what we as Papua New Guineans want?

What about our values and our own development history?

What we want is development defined in OUR terms, not more of this colonial rubbish which CLEARLY DOES NOT WORK!



homes burning at Porgera

This has been attributed to joint police and military operations in the area for the past three months to curb illegal [unauthorised] mining activity and related law and order issues.There has been a decline in illegal mining in Porgera Valley.

However, factors exacerbating it still need to be addressed.

The call out operation in Porgera Valley, known as Operation Short Stop 2014, has been extended for another three months by the National Executive Council.

Another platoon from Moem Barracks in Wewak has arrived to take over from their colleagues who have withdrawn.

Illegal [unauthorised] mining in Porgera Valley was rife before the operation began, but it has now been reduced, resulting in overall operation of the Porgera mine resuming normally in full production stage.

The operation has identified that much of the crimes committed in the area were related to illegal [unauthorised] mining.

The perpetrators of those crimes are mostly unemployed, young and old alike, who prey on the mine pit to execute their rogue activities.

Credible leads have also been established to crackdown on the uncontrolled and unregulated gold sales on the market.

High-profile people are allegedly funding criminal elements to destabilize, sabotage and destroy certain initiatives of the national government and Barrick.

The operation also came under scrutiny from an independent human rights group from Canada, following reports of human rights abuse.

Contingent Commander of the operation, Norman Kambo, appealed to locals in the area to cooperate with the troops.

Mr Kambo urged them not to take matters into their own hands but to consult with the troops on the ground to find amicable solutions to their problems.

So far, the operation has mediated at least six compensation payments resulting from tribal conflicts.

Troops on the ground have also been warned not to be involved in illegal [unauthorised] activities that will jeopardize the purpose of the call out operation.


Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Central Bougainville alluvial gold miners seek gov support

alluvial miners

Romulus Masiu | Post Courier

THE alluvial gold miners of Dantanai in Kieta District of Central Bougainville want support from the government to improve their gold panning activities.

Spokesperson Sylvester Everinu said the government should direct its attention the alluvial gold miners instead of concentrating on Panguna Mine and pushing to bring back Bougainville Copper Limited.

Mr Everinu and his people of Dantanai, which number more than 100 are panning for gold on the banks of Katero River near the former Aropa Plantation. The gold they are panning in the area has 90 per cent purity.

Mr Everinu said ABG through its mining ministry should be pumping more money into the alluvial mining industry instead of funding the Panguna mine and bringing back BCL to Bougainville.

“BCL has spoiled our land with their mining technique which is not environmentally friendly. Our land, environment including forest and waterways are polluted. The government should be putting more emphasis on small scale mining and help us alluvial miners in our areas,” Mr Everinu said.

Since the closure of the Panguna mine, Bougainvilleans have engaged themselves in the small scale mining activities panning for gold in all corners of the island.

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ABG and its Australian consultants try and take control of small-scale mining

In a rather obvious attempt to take control and ultimately restrict the activities of small-scale gold miners on Bougainville the ABG and its Australian government paid foreign consultants are running a series of workshops.

Happy and healthy Bougainvillean children

The ABG wants to take control of small-scale mining activities and the incomes it provides to families

The workshops are the first step in a process designed to regulate the small-scale industry, which is widespread and brings significant cash incomes to families.

Once it has control the Autonomous government will be able to force out of business any operators it views as a threat to its own political future and agenda for the island; be able to direct foreign aid funding to its own supporters; and, perhaps most importantly, ensure the small-scale miners don’t encroach into areas where the big corporate miners like Rio Tinto are operating

The heavy media coverage by New Dawn [see below] gives an idea of how importantly the ABG and its consultants view this latest power grab…

ABG president Chief Dr. John Momis said the Autonomous Bougainville Government is committed to ensuring that our new homegrown industry which is small scale gold mining continues to prosper and grow.
When opening the two day small scale gold mining workshop in Buka today, he told the small scale miners that small scale mining is an important industry with widespread benefits that we must ensure it grows.
He pointed out that the ABG’s support for the industry has so far been very limited.
However, chief Momis added that with the government’s determination to change that, our new mining law which will be debated in parliament says that most existing small scale mining will be legal.
He said unlike PNG mining laws, small scale mining is illegal but Bougainville will make small scale mining legal.
He explained further that the draft law also states that anyone will be able to mine, not just on their own land but also on the land of others with the landowners’ permission.
He said the miners on the other hand are also required to meet basic environmental, health and safety standards.
The workshop is held to get a better understanding of small scale mining in Bougainville to help the ABG get a better understanding of both the good things and problems of small scale mining.

ABG Minister for natural resources Michael Oni said today that Bougainville’s small scale gold mining industry must meet best standards with its development.
Speaking at the opening of the two day small scale mining workshop at the Kuri village resort in Buka, he explained that standards include the standards of health, safety and environmental protection.
He pointed out that it also requires miners, landowners, gold buyers and processors to maintain good standards of behavior and not to use violence, threats or weapons.
He said we need our new industry to develop with good standards being established by the ABG and honoured by miners.
Minister Oni added that the training of miners must be looked at also so miners are able to use the most efficient, safe, healthy and environmentally friendly ways of mining and also ensuring the miners receive fair prices for their gold.
He said the miners must be aided to get finances that they need to be able to buy the kind of equipment they need that will enable them to mine safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.
He pointed out that the other thing would be to set legal standards for small scale mining by making laws or regulations which include realistic and effective standards on health, safety and environmental standards.

ABG’s acting chief secretary Chris Siriosi said his administration is ready to support the small scale mining project.
When he was given time to speak during the small scale mining workshop today, he said as head of the public service he has made a commitment to support whatever proposals the department of the minster for mining is bringing to them to create capacity.
He said the idea to establish a small scale mining policy for the government is very vital.
He added that it is very important because more people will be involved and more men and women will be involved in economic activity to put income into their pockets.
Mr. Siriosi however stressed that it is good for the government to make things a bit difficult saying if more people are getting involved in small scale mining, they will forget all about gardening.
He said they will look for gold and go hungry at the same time which is not good.
He pointed out that it is good to balance all our activities.

Miners involved in the small scale gold mining industry were encouraged today to engage in the small scale mining workshop in an intelligent and exclusive way with all Bougainvilleans.
ABG president Chief Dr. John Momis made this encouraging remark when opening the workshop at the Kuri village resort in Buka Town.
He explained to the miners that in this way, the industry will not only benefit the miners from that area but all the people of Bougainville through the ABG.
He pointed out that the workshop is very important for ABG to get a good and accurate understanding of the small scale gold mining industry.
He said he is pleased to open the workshop because it is the first serious effort to get that knowledge and understanding.
Chief Momis then called on all miners who are directly involved in this home-grown industry to share their knowledge and experience with everyone present and to tell them of the good things and also the bad things in between.

Small scale mining is becoming a big industry and we have come to a stage where we must look at the industry critically.
This statement was made by ABG acting mining secretary Steven Burain during the small scale mining workshop in Buka today.
He said whatever policy and legislation we can have whether it needs to have a specific division to deal only with matters of small scale mining then so be it.
He pointed out that this small scale mining is an industry in itself within the mining industry.
Mr. Burain then told the participants, especially miners that mining is not only about getting money but to ensure that social issues, economic and environmental aspects are sustained.
He added that laws, legislation, capacity building is important for us to ensure there is a good administrative mechanism to be effective to create this sustainability.

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