Tag Archives: small-scale mining

A Small Scale Miner sees Alluvial Mining as PNG’s Future

Vasinatta Yama | EMTV News | 22 November 2018

A small scale miner and local businessman, Joe Tomerop says Papua New Guinea will have a bright future, if the government sees the importance of alluvial mining.

Tomerop, who has been in the business for five years, says small scale mining can rescue a country’s economy and foreign exchange.

However, Tomerop says he still needs a license to operate as a first time local investor in this sector.

Tomerop is building his own machines and plant to fulfil the Mineral Resource Authority’s requirement for investors to have their own equipment before applying for license.

So far, he has spent over K800, 000 to locally build his own plant, as well as trying to acquire a license from the Mineral Resources Authority.

Tomerop’s village in the Kompiam electorate in Enga Province is situated on the beltline of resources such as gold and copper.

Tomerop says he wants to be one of the first Papua New Guineans to own a small scale mine, instead of working for expatriates.

Joe Tomerop has been in business for over 30 years, and has only just started investing in small scale alluvial mining.

In 2016, EMTV’s Resource PNG Program featured a story about an alluvial mining conference and tradeshow hosted by the Mineral Resource Authority in Goroka.

The theme was “Mechanised Alluvial Mining” from which Tomerop also attended.

Tomerop was not pleased that MRA did not tradeshow any mechanised equipment to small scale miners to learn from.

This has forced him to build his own equipment to be able to get a license.

A landowner group from Tomerop’s village has always wanted to mine gold illegally, but they said alluvial mining has the potential to bring in millions of kina.

They are urging MRA to be fair in issuing licenses to expatriates as well as the locals.

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Unauthorised Miners To Be Fined

Post Courier | September 27, 2018

The Mineral Resources Authority has started ridding unauthorized semi mechanized or mechanized mining in the country.

Unauthorized alluvial mining is predominant in the Wau and Bulolo areas of Morobe Province.

Illegal alluvial miners face a fine of up to K10,000 or prison term of up to four years.

Recently MRA issued 13 stop work notices to individuals engaged in the illegal activities in Wau and Bulolo.

MRA stated such activities are not only illegal but pose substantial environmental and safety risks to miners themselves and the surrounding communities.

MRA’s acting managing director Nathan Mosusu appealed to the miners to adhere to the regulatory requirements, which is part of MRA’s regulatory compliance responsibilities.

Mr Mosusu said MRA has in the past demonstrated its openness and commitment to developing the alluvial sector in collaboration with miners, but it is the miners’ obligation to ensure they operate in compliance.

“I am asking miners to work with MRA for the betterment of the sector. Together we can achieve results,” Mr Mosusu said.

The Mining Act 1992, section 167 states – a person shall not carry on exploration or mining on any land unless he is duly authorised under this Act.

The MRA said the deaths of alluvial miners from cave-ins caused by unauthorised mining activities, and failures to adhere to safety requirements have become common.

It said tunneling and sluicing as part of these unauthorised operations has damaged local roads especially between Wau and Bulolo.

The Wau and Bulolo areas have a long history of alluvial mining that dates back to the 1920s.

At present, there are 81 active alluvial mining tenements and 50 inactive historic tenements granted under the previous mining legislation.

The 50 historic tenements are yet to be converted to alluvial leases recognised under the current Mining Act 1992. Once converted, the terms of these converted tenements would then ensure key safety and environmental aspects of mining operations are regulated appropriately.

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Local Gold Miners Get Raw Deal From Australian Buyer

Jerry Sefe | Post Courier | September 19, 2018

A small scale gold miner in Morobe is now worried that he might not be able to get the sum of money worth his 4.6 kilogram gold given to an Australian gold buyer in 2013.
The miner (named) who is a local from Aseki in Menyamya district told Post-Courier that his gold weighing 4.6kg was given in exchange of payment and business to an international gold buyer named Chris Walker of Brisbane, Australia in 2013, but he has never received his complete payment up until today.
He said it was through the arrangement of PNG National Small Scale Miners Association Incorporation vice president and general secretary Joe Bronston that linked him including 15 other gold owners from various provinces to go into business with Chris Walker.
It is now after six years and he is still waiting for the complete payment of his gold.
He said Mr Walker has also taken 45kg of gold from the other 15 individuals and wanted them to keep topping up the gold until 100kg then he would move his business to Port Moresby and work with them.
“I was only given AUS$10, 000 (PGK 23,489.4) as a spending money according to Mr Walker and his wife Jessica Groff while 1.5kg of the total 4.6kg of gold was going to be my share in the business and rest of the payment was supposed to be given to me later,” the man said.
However nothing turned out the way he expected in the agreement between Mr Walker and him.
A detailed statement from Mr Bronston said he knew Chris Walker and Peter Walker for almost 20 years and have been living together as families in PNG in 1988.
However, Mr Bronston when speaking to Post-Courier described Mr Walker and wife Jessica of Noosa, Queensland as perpetrators despite their close family relationship.
Mr Bronston said one of the most talked about business between them was how to develop alluvial mining in PNG from which in 2010, Mr Walker came up with the plan to introduce PNG Bullion Exchange in PNG.
“I informed various miners in different parts of the country and we agreed to Chris Walkers plan and the first four day meeting was held in Brisbane to achieve the plan of producing 100 kilos of gold so it would give confidence to investors to come to PNG to set up PNG Gold Exchange trade centre” said Mr Bronston.
Mr Bronston said the negotiation with miners to go into business with Mr Walker was agreed by all and the trip was taken care of by Queensland customs Broker Glenys Gardener whom was contracted by Australian Coin and Bullion Exchange in Melbourne.
“I did 18 trips of gold delivery under my PNG Mining Department Export Permit as Geological Sampling to Walker in Brisbane. Meanwhile the gold had a purity rate of 89percent (gold purity), Mr Bronston said.
He said each time he brought the gold to Mr Walker, after confirming weight and genuineness, he then transports the precious metal to the Australian Coin & Bullion Exchange for analysis and sampling, where the gold is then refined to 99.99 gold purity.
“Until 2013 the miners began following up on the establishment of Gold Exchange Trading in Port Moresby as promised. Subsequently this led to the disappearance of the Walkers.
“I told them in one of the gathering of miners in Port Moresby that we must continue to produce and arrive at 100kg of pure gold then the establishment of PNG GOLD Exchange will be announced, by the time the 45kg pure gold was already in Brisbane.
“However I was reported to the detectives at Boroko police station by miners repeatedly by different miners who doubted this work program (100kg gold exchange) as they felt it would drag on”, Mr Bronston said.
He said some of the miners wanted money for their gold, others listened and followed what was said while a few took his families as hostage at one time.
“I stopped delivering when I noticed Mr Walker and his wife Jessica stopped responding to my calls and emails during the tussle.
“I even flew down twice to follow up but still no indication of their presence. They had their address changed and perhaps went into hiding,” he said.
He said the matter was also reported to the Noosa Heads Police station and a complaint was also filed with Detectives Chad Kereama and Jason Brown. The investigation has since taken four years and is still pending.

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Small-scale mining training a need

A family panning gold in the polluted Jaba river flowing from Panguna copper mine. Photo: Friedrich Stark

Erebiri Zurenuoc | The National aka The Loggers Times | August 20, 2018

THE need for more small-scale mining training centres has been highlighted during the recent alluvial mining convention and tradeshow held in Lae.

Alluvial mining schools established in all four regions of PNG will cater for small-scale miners and developers in the industry who are not aware of the requirements.

There is currently only one training centre established by Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and that one is in Wau, Morobe.

Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke highlighted the need for more training centres but also said there were many challenges to that.

“The budget has already closed but we still need to make sure this happens through a submission,” he said.

“This will happen only if there is support of politicians and governments of alluvial mining areas.

“The funds can go to MRA.

“MRA can manage it for the sake of our alluvial miners around the country.

“Our locals must be encouraged to take part in the alluvial mining sector.

“We need to establish one training centre, possibly at Kainantu, one in Alotau and another in Kavieng or Namatanai.

“We need to provide incentives for our local miners.

“Most of our local communities are engaged in this activity and we must be mindful of our environment too.”
Bulolo MP and Government minister Sam Basil also supported the idea.

“For alluvial mining and training programmes, similar set-ups like the training centre in Wau must be established in regional centres to accommodate the demands of the alluvial mining regions,” he said.

Alluvial miners need to be properly trained on the use of mercury, occupational health and safety, and social issues such as child labour, drugs, HIV and AIDS and gender.

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Institutions Should Include Alluvial Mining Training, Says Basil

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

Jerry Sefe | Post Courier | August 17, 2018

Major tertiary institutions in the country must be given the opportunity to involve facilitating trainings and safety regulation in the alluvial mining sector.

Member for Bulolo and Minister for Information and Communications Technology and Energy Sam Basil made the call to the Mineral Resources Authority on Tuesday during day one of its 4th Alluvial Mining and Tradeshow convention held in Lae.

“I want to encourage MRA involve our research and tertiary institutions including University of Papua New Guinea, PNG University of Technology and University of Natural Resource and Environment in our collaborative efforts in alluvial mining and the environmental impacts and safety,” said Mr Basil.

Basil said these institutions are academically and professionally equipped with knowledge, expertise and innovations to expand the sector and in this partnership the country can make a difference in challenging times when resource scarcity and sustainability is concerned.

He said the challenges of the alluvial mining observed from in Bulolo district is the safety aspects that needs to be more regulated when unsafe practices are becoming an increasing concern especially with miners using the underground mining techniques where they dig through tunnels.

“This has resulted in numerous deaths over the years. This is because of the alluvial resource knowledge has always been a barrier in advancing the alluvial mining operations” said Mr Basil.

Basil said it is a must that all concerned stakeholders join forces and embrace the new developments in this era of alluvial mining because the alluvial mining sector is owned by Papua New Guineans using downstream processing.

“This area must be carefully considered because it has a high potential to enhance multiple revenue streams through maximum participation of our rural populace.”

He said MRA as the concerned regulator must strive in its efforts in maintaining safety practices within the alluvial mining communities.

Basil added that environmental compliance is another issue that must be strictly regulated by the Conservation Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) however mentioned that CEPA are yet to be fully aware of what is happening within the alluvial mining sector.

“I am aware of the financial requirements of the sector in supporting alluvial miners therefore as local MP for Bulolo we will be fully supporting our local miners through our district development authority” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister also commended MRA’s initiative in the alluvial resource mapping programs currently taking place in Bulolo to build the resource inventory of the district.

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Alluvial Miners Concerned Over Lack Of Financial Backing

Government failing to support alluvial miners with access to loans

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | August 15, 2018

Concerns have been raised by alluvial miners on their inability to borrow money from financial companies to fund their operations.

They said when they approached banks or other financial institutions for assistance, they were usually turned down.

The Alluvial Mining Sector in 2017 generated over K300 million and that figure can double if good financial backing is provided for them to boost their operations.

Edward Buasin of EDHI Limited said they sometimes lacked financial capacity and borrowed from local loan sharks who ended up making huge returns on their finances significantly marginalizing the land or resource owners driving them below the poverty scales.

“Because the banks see us as an unpredictable source of income so we are usually left out to be funded when seeking loan assistance.

“I had been an illegal miner in the past, but now with the support of MRA have registered a fully recognised SME in alluvial mining and have a mining lease as well,” Mr Buasin said.

Mr Buasin highlighted several impediments that developers face in illegal mining:

  • Difficult to contain costs due to competition;
  • The exposure was great, could not take out insurance on equipment or personnel as there was no legitimate documentation to substantiate our activity;
  • Increased idle time due to ongoing complaints ranging from disputed boundaries to all sorts of social issues; and
  • For those who knew the Mining Act they were constantly on the guard.

Another leaseholder of Sandy Creek in Wau said he had tried to access a loan from a bank but was turned away.

“My brother a coffee farmer applied for a loan was approved, but me as an alluvial miner, I was rejected.

“My plea to the Government, is please put money where your mouth is as we the alluvial miners have the potential to make a significant contribution to our economy.

“Any policy change must start from ground zero which is the lease holders or through its Associations such as the Morobe Goldfields Small Scale Miners Association,” he said.

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Alluvial Gold, Silver Production Up

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | August 15, 2018

The alluvial gold and silver production for the year 2017 achieved the second highest revenue figure of K356 million since the records were reviewed this year.

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke said this placed the alluvial sector in 5th place by revenue when compared to major mines operating within PNG.

“This is evidence of both the status and potential for the alluvial sector within PNG.”

Mr Tuke spoke to delegates during the 4th Alluvial Convention and Trade Show in Lae yesterday stressing that while it was unfortunate that the price of gold is ever reactive to world events, trade, and political influences such as the prospect of a full blown international trade war currently has dropped off its highs of the first six months of 2018.

“Despite this, production in the alluvial sector was recorded as 93,080 ounces of gold and will be exceeded and revenue forecasts suggest revenue over K400 million in a calendar year.”

Mr Tuke said last month the Mineral Resources Authority Act 2017 was gazetted.

He said amongst other policy changes this revised legislation has raised alluvial levy to 0.5 per cent from 0.25 per cent.

“The additional levy funds will enable further policy development within the sector and a wider reach for the small scale mining training.

“Every alluvial mining operation is a small or medium enterprise whether it be a simple panning and sluicing operation or a more complex and sophisticated mechanised development supported by an alluvial mining lease for alluvial purposes and a tribute agreement,” Mr Tuke said.

He further highlighted MRA shares his desire to see the mining SMEs grow and prosper and develop into productive business.

Mr Tuke said the mining advisory council at its last meeting in 2017 approved a trial of a newly established alluvial lease and tributer monitoring committee.

“This committee with additional funding available is to assist failing tenement holder and tributer joint venture arrangements to re-establish trust and confidence, provide fiscal advise and facilitate resolution of disputes.”

He said the outcome is hoped to be successful ventures which in turn lead to transparent, well managed, and productive operations with profits available for distribution in the communities supporting the alluvial venture.

“Furthermore the proposal for development and tribute agreement templates developed by MRA to assist alluvial miners to lodge an application have been reviewed this year.”

The process he said was undertaken to capture common issues faced by applicants and to give them greater control of their mining operation and fairer and more transparent commercial terms.

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