Tag Archives: small-scale mining

Alluvial Sector Revenue at K550m in 2019

Patrick Tom | Post Courier |  March 9, 2020

The country’s alluvial sector production and revenue has climbed to K550 million in 2019, an increase of K140 million from what it earned in 2018.

Mineral Resource Authority regulatory operations manager Roger Gunson revealed during the launching of the Reducing Mercury in PNG ASGM sector last Friday that last year the country’s alluvial sector generates revenue of K550 million, and produced 120,000 OZ (ounces) of gold.

When put that in perspective that’s similar to a medium size mine like Simbari mine in New Ireland.

Mr Gunson said gold represents 70 per cent of mineral revenue, adding that current the gold price as of last Friday was at almost US$1670 an ounce filtering with historic highs.

“The high gold price is beneficial for PNG and the alluvial sector,” he said.

“For every US$100 increase in the gold price, our mineral revenue increases by over K650 million,” said Mr Gunson.

He said that provides some perspective on the significance of gold to our economy.

“From the grassroots miners working the rivers and streams boost their rural household income, through to the national government collecting taxes.”

“The sector is one of the largest small and medium enterprise directly benefits those communities that involve in alluvial gold mining,” said Mr Gunson.

He also pointed out that PNG alluvial sector has a significant component of the overall mining industry of Papua New Guinea.

It has been operating since 1881.

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MRA embarks to reduce mercury usage

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | March 8, 2020

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) recently launched a project to reduce the use of mercury in small scale mining operations.

The Project aims to identify the extent to which mercury is used in the industry and how it is used and by whom, in a bid to mitigate health risks.

On March 6th, the ‘Reducing Mercury Use in Papua New Guinea’s Alluvial and Small-Scale Gold Mining Sector’ Project was launched in Port Moresby, following a workshop with key stakeholders and project partners.

The Alluvial Mining industry is one of the largest small to medium enterprise sectors in PNG that engages thousands of rural small scale miners.

It is also a sector that is great health risks due to the usage of mercury.

“This project is designed to get a better understanding of our alluvial sector general, and more specifically to identify the extent to which mercury is used how it is used and by whom,” said MRA Executive Manager of Regulatory Operations, Roger Gunson.

“In addition, it will track the supply trial and identify the regions where it is used. The data collected relating to the sector will be entered into a database administered as part of MRA’s land-folio tenement system.

“This will be able to better inform on policy development, resourcing, training and sector needs.”

Gunson, said the Alluvial Mining is one of the biggest revenue earners for the country with K550 million recorded in 2019.

He said this is similar to revenue generated by smaller mines such as Simberi Mine. However, the use of mercury in extracting gold poses major health risks to the miners.

“Unfortunately, in many parts of PNG gold is extracted through the use of mercury. This is a danger to the health of miners, their families and communities as well as we have heard from the workshop today.

“Hence, we have a paradox, we want the gold and we want to be able to seek it, but we also have a health risk that sits alongside it,” said Gunson.

The project is funded by the US Department of State and implemented by Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) in conjunction with the MRA.

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Artisanals allowed to mine ELs

PNG Report | 16 February 2020

COMPANIES with exploration licences do not have the right to stop landowners from doing alluvial mining on their tenements.

This is the word from Mines Minster Johnson Tuke, who said that in accordance with Papua New Guinea’s constitution, a company could obtain an exploration licence but alluvial mining was “confined and reserved for landowners”, The National newspaper reported.

Tuke was responding to East Sepik Governor Allan Bird’s questions relating to landowner groups in Maprik being denied access by a foreign company to do alluvial mining on their land.

Bird said even though the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) issued a number of alluvial mining licences to landowner groups for the many alluvial prospects there, issues were still faced by those operating under those licences.

He said a foreigner was killed three months ago in his province as a result of issues relating to the MRA alluvial mining licences.

“The MRA and other government departments and agencies do not consult us before allowing foreign companies to operate in our province,” he said. 

Bird said a foreigner operating in Maprik had restricted local landowners from obtaining alluvial mining licences to operate on their land. “What happens to the rights of landowners when the MRA issues exploration licences to foreign companies to operate on their land?” Bird asked.

Tuke said even though alluvial mining was reserved for landowners, the MRA, through its mining advisory council, had the power to determine who was capable of conducting mining activities.

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Rural alluvial miners to be empowered

Loop PNG | February 11, 2020

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu has reaffirmed the Morobe Provincial Government’s position to empower all rural alluvial miners of Wau-Bulolo.

This was highlighted following a discussion with four tenement holders of Wau, Bulolo and Watut River in Bulolo District.

Governor Saonu said MPG has now engaged the services of Albatross Integrated Limited, who have extensive years of working with alluvial miners and other mining projects of New Ireland Province.

The company will be the coordinating body to ensure the alluvial miners are empowered.

“These are new interventions undertaken by MPG and to drive the agenda of mining in Morobe,” Governor Saonu stated.

“I have appointed a Tutumang committee chairman for mining who will work closely with the alluvial miners, landowners, miners associations and cooperative societies from here and onwards to ensure they are fully taken care of in their activities. All reports will then be presented back to PEC on the progress of the alluvial miners.

“I understand that over the many years, the landowners and historical miners of small scale mining in Wau- Bulolo have been deprived of the full benefits of their gold, and so it is time for MPG to intervene to assist them to reach maximum benefits of alluvial gold.”

Governor Saonu said plans are in place to ensure all alluvial gold collected by the landowners and tenement holders are made into gold bars to ensure financial security in the long run.

“The Regulatory Operations Division (ROD) of the Mineral Resources Authority and Albatross Integrated Limited will work now more closely with the landowners and tenement holders to ensure the all are fully taken care of in their alluvial mining activity.

“The aim of empowering the alluvial miners is part of the Economic Policy of Triple 1, where people of Morobe are empowered at which activity they are engaged in to be financially sound,” Governor Saonu explained.

He further emphasised that financial literacy training will be conducted for all Wau-Bulolo alluvial miners as well to ensure they are financially capable.

“The alluvial mining sector will be another economic opportunity for Morobe and a revenue generating activity for Morobe as well.”

Matthew Dalga, the MRA Development Engineer at the Small Scale Mining Branch representing ROD and MRA, said alluvial mining has huge potential and it can bring positive benefits if well-coordinated and supported.

“The MRA will support wherever possible in terms of compliance and ensure the regulatory process is followed so that the initiative taken progresses to a positive direction,” he stated.

Albatross Integrated Limited Principal Bridget Laimo said all good governance and transparency mechanisms will be in place to ensure all alluvial tenement holders and people are given maximum benefit for their efforts.

“Albatross working will be a family orientated partnership with the alluvial miners from onwards,” she stated.

“The levies retained from the alluvial gold sold will go back to your communities to help build roads, schools and all other necessary development infrastructure.”

Albatross Integrated Limited for six years have been working with landowners at New Ireland Province, and also up at Hides and Porgera and will now do the same for Morobe.

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Alluvial mining sector has huge potential

 

LOOP PNG | 24 December 2019

Over a billion kina can be generated from the Alluvial Mining Industry if small scale miners are upskilled.

The Small Scale Mining Training Centre in Wau, Morobe Province, is one such facility upskilling small scale miners in the sector.

And so far the results have been positive with more than 5000 small scale miners graduating through the program.

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‘Our blood shed’: At Panguna, devastation lingers

Bougainville flag flies high at Panguna. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

Johnny Blades | Radio New Zealand | 22 November 2019 

As Bougainville nears its self-determination referendum, the mine that sparked its bloody civil war is seen as the key to potential independence from Papua New Guinea.

Panguna copper mine was the major revenue earner for the PNG state in its early decades of independence.

But it’s been mothballed since the Bougainville crisis broke out three decades ago over a range of social and environmental grievances related to the mine.

It’s been estimated as many as 15,000 people died.

Panguna was one of the world’s largest open pit mines. While large scale mining has long since ceased, nature has gradually reclaimed the gigantic pit.

Aside from alluvial miners who chip away at its fringes on a daily basis, the mine may initially appear as a thing of the past.

But for Maggie Voring, of Panguna’s Guava village, the trauma of lost lives and devastated communities lingers.

“Because our blood shed. Too many blood shed in here, and even today, we didn’t get the bones from all over the place, which is no good for us.”

The shelled out husk of concrete and steel that is the town of Panguna, just adjacent to the open pit mine, was once a bustling centre for Bougainville Copper Limited staff and other expatriates.

The town was big. It had a supermarket, a cinema, squash courts. A far cry from the level of services in most parts of Bougainville and PNG.

But the war brought all that to an end.

Ms Voring used to work at the supermarket. She said she saw lots of wealth pumping through the tills, via foreigners who came to exploit Bougainville’s natural resources.

“This is no good. I’m not getting money from my wealth. They have stolen my wealth out of here. Even Papua New Guinea government done to us. We are really poor on that. I’m the grandmother for 11 kids.

“I don’t have better place to put my grandchildren to school like a university in Arawa. No, I cannot afford to get the money to send my grandchildren out there in Papua New Guinea side.”

Nature has gradually reclaimed the massive open pit of Bougainville Copper Limited’s former lucrative mine. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

Another Panguna local, Sylvester Birou, is a former commander of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) which squared off against the PNG Defence Force during the war.

He said the resources which caused the crisis were also the key to the future.

“Papua New Guinea never fought the war to gain independence. Bougainville, we fought the war to gain independence. Papua New Guinea government was just given in a golden plate, independence. And that independence of Papua New Guinea government was by Panguna mining.”

In Arawa, the man who led the BRA, Sam Kauona, is pitching to be the leader of a new independent Bougainville.

This week he made the news in Australia, announcing that he has received overtures from the Chinese private sector looking to help develop Bougainville’s natural resources.

The former leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Sam Kauona. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

“What I see is that if Chinese come into Bougainville, they have to come under a good arrangement, good laws signed between governments, signed between the resource owners of Bougainville. No one can come in without having good laws protecting both interests, local interests and investor interests.

“That’s why Chinese are welcome. Japanese, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, all welcome.”

The result of Bougainville’s non-binding referendum is subject to ratification by PNG’s national Parliament.

A period of consultation between the two sides is expected to take place first, after the count.

But no one is certain how long this process may take.

However, Sam Kauona said there must be a transitional type of government to take over the current Autonomous Bougainville government.

“A government to lead us into the future Bougainville government, which all the factions will have to come under, will have to be drawn into the new system. It’s not ABG government in the future, it’s totally a different government of Bougainville.”

Confident of a strong majority vote for independence, Mr Kauona said he and many other resource owners wanted the Panguna mine re-opened soon.

Not everyone agrees that the mine should open again soon, while long-standing grievances related to it remain unresolved. Furthermore, the gold panners say they don’t want large scale mining to return, it may interrupt their business.

With Bougainville Copper Limited estimating there is $US58 billion worth of mineral reserves still to be tapped, Mr Kauona said the mine would bankroll a new independent Bougainville.

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Morobe To Focus On Developing Small Scale Mining

Jerry Sefe | Post Courier | September 24, 2019

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu has set the course for the Morobe Provincial Government and its administration to focus on building small scale mining in Morobe Province.

Mr Saonu when attending a small scale mining consultation workshop in Lae said he would direct the Morobe provincial government (MPG) and the administration (MPA) to assist miners at the end of October 2019.

“We will also table crucial agenda on the developing small scale mining in Morobe Province through Provincial Executives Councils (PEC) together with the 2020 Provincial budget presentation in December as well,” said Saonu.

He said it has always been his dream and desire before he became a politician to create opportunities for small scale mining that are properly developed into a sustainable and robust business income stream for small scale miners.

He said successful millionaires in alluvial mining were on the rise because they were taught to use improved small-scale mechanized alluvial mining techniques, supported by respective government agents and the list goes on.

“I want to see the same for all small scale miners in Morobe become somebody living and enjoying luxury lives.

“I expect a provincial policy, strategies and better management approaches to support our small scale miners.

“As far as I am concerned MPG is committed to support small scale miners in any capacity to make them become successful and this must start this year” Saonu said.

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