Tag Archives: small-scale mining

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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Taking the Initiative – Engan man builds home made Gold Crusher

Vasinatta Yama | EMTV News | 13 May 2019

Joe Tomerop from the Enga province is an Alluvial Gold miner who has taken the bold steps in increasing mining production in his area.

Almost two years in the making, Tomerop has completed his own home-made gold crusher and is having it ready for transportation to the Kompiam district for an alluvial mine at his village.

Costing a Million Kina he says, he was challenged by the Mineral Resources Authority to have the mining capacity available before acquiring a mining license for the alluvial deposits in his mothers village in the province.

Tomerop who is a local business man says he used his own resources to build the machines proving that local Papua New Guineans have the capacity to do mining and export, and have the licenses to do so.

“I want MRA and Papua New Guinea sees that Papua New Guineans we can do it. That’s the difference. So we have completed it and I’m waiting for my license.”

An alluvial miner, in 2014, he discovered alluvial gold in his mother’s area, who’s landowners are the Kuralin tribe of Kompiam.

With agreements from his uncles, he took the initiative and brought the Warden Hearing to Kompiam.

“From that time on we followed MRA’s procedures and surveyed the area and gather landowners. We are nine clans from the Kuralin Tribe from that mountain. So we tried doing it and brought the Warden’s hearing and the Warden gave okay for us.”

The crusher he’s designed is built using local knowledge, and utilized the help of an Australian friend who guided the locals to complete building the gold crusher.

“It’s for alluvial gold. We did not bring it from China, Europe or Australia. This machine is locally built.  Few things like pipes and pumps are not in PNG so we brought it from Australia.”

According to Mineral Resources Authority, panning for alluvial gold mine can bring an estimated K300 million into the PNG economy, and Tomerop believes that with his crusher and machines, he can triple his own revenue as a result.

“But I don’t think a National has come to that capacity of what I had in mind. Because it’s hard to invest money in something you don’t know whether there’s something under the ground or not. You know that coffee season is good, the soil is good, and then you plant coffee because you know the market is there. This one has market but to start it is difficult so I took a gamble.”

Tomerop is now waiting for MRA to grant him and his tribesman their license to operate the alluvial mine.

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More than 40 million people work in artisanal mining- report

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

Peter Hobson | Reuters | 25 April 2019

More than 40 million people around the world work in artisanal and small-scale mining where minerals including gold, diamonds and cobalt are dug up often by hand, a report by the World Bank and development organisation Pact said on Wednesday.

Increasing demand for metals and rising prices have triggered a boom in small-scale mining in recent years, mainly in poorer countries in South America, Africa and Asia.

These mines are a vital source of income for communities, but many operate outside the law and leak chemicals into rocks, soil and rivers. Working conditions can be appalling, and the metal and stones dug up are often smuggled across borders on a vast scale, sometimes by criminal operations.

Billions of dollars worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa, a Reuters investigation found this week.

The World Bank and Pact said too little was known about how many people worked in small mines and previous estimates, which were often far lower than 40 million, tended to be partial or rely on outdated data.

“It’s time to shine a light on this vital sector so we can accelerate investments in people and communities for greater equity and sustainable economic growth,” Riccardo Puliti, the World Bank’s head of energy and extractives global practice, said in a statement.

The report said 16.3 million people worked in small-scale mining in South Asia, of which 12 million were in India, and 9.8 million people in East Asia and the Pacific, of which 9 million were in China.

Another 9.9 million people worked in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said, with 2 million in the Democratic Republic of Congo and between 1 and 1.5 million each in Sudan, Ghana and Tanzania.

Just over 2 million people work in the industry in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 1.9 million more in the Middle East and North Africa and 100,000 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, it said.

Thirty percent of the workers globally were women, the report found.

Minerals mined in small-scale and artisanal mines include gold and diamonds, used for jewellery and investment, and tin, tungsten, tantalum and cobalt consumed in industry, electronics and batteries that power electric vehicles.

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