Tag Archives: small-scale mining

Alluvial gold exports expect K410 million for country

The National aka The Loggers Times | July 11, 2018

Alluvial gold exports are expected to generate K410 million for the country this year, Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) predicts.

The forecast for this year, subject to steady production and commodity prices, is 97,000 ounces compared to 93,080oz in 2017.

Alluvial gold exports through licensed gold exporters, regulated by the Bank of PNG, totaled K365 million last year.

Top three licensed gold export companies were Italpreziosi SPL, Golden Valley Enterprises and Gold Exports Ltd.

Small-scale mining branch of MRA has now certified 4583 alluvial miners through its training programmes since 2009. Last year, 420 were certified, with 337 certificates issued for level 1 training.

With the exception of tenement information, MRA holds no reliable data on the number of people participating in the alluvial sector in PNG.

This is especially given the rural and remote locations of many of these community-based, non-mechanised operations.

In a paid advertisement yesterday, MRA said:

“We do know from our training initiatives, tenement regulation, convention presentations, regional activities and local knowledge that numbers run into the many thousands.

“Until a comprehensive database of such information can be established, these numbers will remain purely conjectural and largely unknown.”

Outreach training programmes have been conducted in East Sepik over the past 12 months. The next is scheduled for Eastern Highlands for third quarter of this year.

There are 24 mining leases (for alluvial purposes) active as at May 2018, of which eight have tribute agreements, and 13 alluvial leases under new or extension application.

There are 102 alluvial mining lease tenements active, of which 56 have a tribute agreement registered.

Eleven alluvial mining leases and 122 mining lease conversion tenements await completion of assessment for grant under the Mining Act 1992.

These are historic pre-1992 alluvial tenements whose tenement and mining rights have been preserved under transitional provisions.

Therefore, active alluvial mining tenements make up approximately 40 per cent of total active mining or exploration tenements in the country. There are 64 registered tribute agreements, which support the financial capacity and operational requirements of alluvial tenements.

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Mercury puts gold miners at risk of heart attack

Hezron Kising | The National aka The Loggers Times | 28 June 2018

Small-scale gold miners who directly handle mercury while extracting gold have a greater risk of developing heart disease, a study reveals.

Michael Kiapulkalow, a senior environmental science lecturer at University of PNG, said mercury and its compounds were highly toxic and had adverse effects on human health, wildlife and the environment.

He said this during a workshop on chemical and waste management by Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA).

This was in regard to thousands of artisanal small-scale gold mining activities throughout the country where people were exposed to chemicals that could harm them.

“Mercury is highly toxic, causing damage to the nervous system at even relatively low levels of exposure” Kiapulkalow said.

“In Wau-Bulolo district in Morobe and Misima Island in Milne Bay, hundreds of people have been exposed to mercury and will encounter long-term health problems.

“It is particularly harmful to the development of unborn children if a pregnant women is exposed or involved.

“Mercury usually collects in human and animal bodies and can be concentrated through the food chain, especially in certain types of fish. Women who are breastfeeding or might become pregnant should limit their interaction in and around those small scale gold mining areas, since there is high amount of mercury concentration released into the environment.

“It’s generally anticipated that the artisanal small-scale gold mining sector has more mercury releases into the environment than the large operating mines.”

Kiapulkalow said CEPA had implemented a convention with the national government to address the issue by putting in place the Minamata Convention (MC).

“MC is a global treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from the adverse impacts of mercury and its compounds,” he said.

“PNG was not able to sign the MC and is currently not a party to the MC.

“There is currently a joint National Executive Council submission between Foreign Affairs Department and CEPA for PNG to accede to the MC.

“PNG will look to becoming a party to the Minamata Convention in 2019.

“That will protect human health and environment from the risks posed by unintentional and intentional emissions and releases, unsound use and management of mercury.”

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Alluvial miners want govt to reduce licensing fees

The National aka The Loggers Times | June 6, 2018

TWO alluvial miners at Wau and Bulolo, in Morobe, have called on the Government to reduce the fees needed for mining licences to help keep local people in business.

Many miners have gone out of business because they cannot afford the fees, said one of the miners, George Waure, on Friday.

Waure, who has been engaged in alluvial mining for the past 14 years, said that originally no fees were charged and miners worked freely.

The miners were also concerned with the presence of foreigners in the industry, with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill forced to come out in Parliament last month to clarify that alluvial mining was reserved for locals and not big businesses.

Westy Awiong, of Morobe Gold Field Small Scale Miners’ Association, said they were happy with the prime minister’s assurance.

Awiong said foreigners should not be involved in the sector.

“We have the experience as some of us have been mining for many years,” he said.

“If we are given financial assistance to purchase the right machines we can upgrade to commercial mining.”

Last month, Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu pointed out in Parliament that big companies were now getting into alluvial mining.

In response, O’Neill said those companies must stay out of it.

Landowners in Morobe have rejected an application by Wabu Alluvial Limited and Harmony Gold Exploration Limited for exploration licences for Bulolo Valley.

O’Neill said:

“I’m not privy to the letter that the governor is referring to, but I will instruct the mining department to look into the matter and respond in writing so that his concerns and our people’s concerns are being addressed properly.

“Generally, I support the call by the governor and the people (that) alluvial mining should be reserved for our people and not necessarily large international companies.

“I understand Harmony and the other companies have applied for exploration licences which are different from alluvial mining.”

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Machines roll in to assist alluvial miners

Machines roll in to give miners something to smile about

The National aka The Loggers Times | June 5, 2018

ALLUVIAL miners in Bulolo aim to improve their mining activities with heavy machinery to add economic value to their operations.

The Morobe Goldfield Small Scale Miner’s Association executive chairman Westy Awiong said the members had moved away from traditional alluvial mining methods.

The mechanised operations involve the use of excavators and screen plants to process gravels.

The excavators are either leased or hired to do the dredging along the sandbanks and mountain sides.

Awiong said there were five active mechanised miners among about 170 registered alluvial miners.

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‘All Alluvial Mining Should Be Reserved’

PM Peter O’Neill says all alluvial mining should be reserved for Papua New Guineans

Post Courier | May 31, 2018

PRIME Minster Peter O’Neill says all alluvial mining in the country should be reserved for Papua New Guineans.

Mr O’Neill said he agrees with the decision and the stances the Morobe provincial government took in allowing Papua New Guineans to mine and take ownership of alluvial mines.

He said although he was not aware of the letter from the Morobe Goldfield Mine Association, he would instruct the Minster for Mining and the department to look into the concern of the people who did not want explorations licences to be issued to big mining companies.

“I’m not privy to the letter, generally I support the call and stand of the Morobe provincial government that alluvial mines should be reserved to our people.

“Big companies should not be involved in alluvial mining in PNG.”

Mr O’Neill said this during Question Time yesterday in response to Morobe Governor Ginson Soanu who had asked that the Morobe Goldfield Mine Association oppossed the issuing of alluvial mine exploration licences to big companies to be involved in alluvial exploration and mining in Wau-Bulolo.

Mr Soanu said that Morobe provincial government supported the association, which involved villagers and ordinary people, and wanted the Minster for Mining Johnson Tuke, the Department of Mines and MRA not to issue any licence to Harmony Exploration Limited and Abu Exploration Limited for EL2544 and EL2554 in the Wau-Bulolo area.

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Tuke Praised For Alluvial Mining Plans

Post Courier | March 12, 2018

PLANS to reserve alluvial mining for locals has attracted praise from local landowner companies across the country.

Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke said he wants to enable locals to build up wealth and capital to prosper in the next stages of the mining-especially in the mineral rich areas.

An aspiring umbrella landowner company, Tundaka PNG Limited of Mt Tundaka exploration licence area, applauded the move.

The new prospect is located in Enga’s Kandep district along the border with Magarima in Hela.

“As the chairman of the umbrella company, I congratulate Mr Tuke and support this initiative to empower landowners to the landowners to venture into such lucrative businesses on extractive industries,” chairman Pokya Pea said.

He said to break the barrier of landowners being the collectors of royalties only and spectators in their own resource developments is the step in the right direction.

“We can’t be bystanders for foreigners to extract our valuable resources and giving us 2.5 per cent only as equity share especially in the extractive industries.

“The proposal, when established, will strengthen our economy through setting up our bullion bank and financially empowered,” he said.

Mr Pea called on the government to amalgamate the Mineral Resource Authority and the Department of Geo-hazards Management to bring about new extractive projects as well as to build the capital wealth of people.

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App brings alluvial miners, buyers closer

The National aka The Loggers Times | February 26, 2018

ALLUVIAL miners throughout the country will now be able to trade directly with buyers all over the world through a mobile phone application.
The Mintrad app was launched in Alotau, Milne Bay, on Thursday during the Alluvial and Small Scale Mining Convention 2018.
It is an initiative of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and is a platform for facilitating trading of alluvial gold.
Miners will be able to communicate with buyers, negotiate prices based on world market prices and get the best maximum selling prices.
It is about making trade easily accessible to simple rural miners in the comfort of their own villages.
The app will be upgraded and improved as trading commences and feedback is received from users.
It was launched by Mining Minister Johnson Tuke and Esa’ala MP and Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven.
MRA managing director Philip Samar said the alluvial and small-scale mining sector was the mining sector’s small-to-medium enterprise.
He said launching of the app was consistent with one of MRA’s main target this year, which was to develop the small-scale mining sector through awareness, funding assistance and appropriate technology.
The staging of the convention was an initiative of the Esa’ala district development authority with the leadership and support of Steven.
Samar commended Steven for his initiative and urged other MPs who represent mining districts to partner with MRA to develop the sector.

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