Tag Archives: small-scale mining

SME mining creating jobs for youths in Bulolo

alluvial watut

Post Courier | February 14, 2017

A SMALL to medium enterprise (SME) in Bulolo, Morobe Province is having a positive impact on youths in this area.

TRocks Construction Ltd  owned by Berldon Timah is a four-month old small scale alluvial mining company. Mr Timah said to date the company has created jobs for 48 workers who have been rostered on two shifts. He said business has been good but more could be achieved particularly for the youths in these rural areas through government intervention.

Apart from this venture, Mr Timah has established a small foundation in the area which provides help for the local schools, not just in this area but to neighboring Eastern Highlands Province as well. Timah says of the revenue generated from his projects 10 per cent goes towards the foundation’s activities.

Meanwhile, the foundation, with support from Mr Timah’s company has provided help by assisting disadvantaged communities with road projects and other basic services.

The foundation has also funded school infrastructure and supplies in the Eastern Highlands and Morobe Provinces.

Mr Timah said all his work was not to gain glory but to help give back to the community.


Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Benefits of “Mechanised Alluvial Mining” Explained


LOOP | November 4, 2016

The third annual PNG Alluvial Mining Convention & Trade Show started yesterday at the National Sports Institute in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province.

The two-days (Nov 3-4) convention is an initiative of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).

The theme of this year’s convention is “Mechanising the alluvial industry” and aims to set a platform for stakeholders to exchange information, discuss issues and share ideas on how mechanised alluvial mining can result in maximum benefits for miners.

“Mechanising” refers to the use of machines such as excavators in alluvial mining.

Managing Director of MRA, Philip Samar in his opening remarks said MRA was committed to ensuring that the growth of the sector was supported and promoted.

He said the convention was an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss how the sector could be mechanised.

Stakeholders include the alluvial mining communities from all areas of PNG, the MRA, small and medium business promoters, financiers, joint venture interests, gold buyers, smelter companies and exporters, Provincial and Local Level Governments, lawyers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

Over 200 participants have registered for the convention, representing most alluvial areas of PNG.

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Alluvial Mining Convention and Trade Show in Goroka, 3-4 November



November 1, 2016 · 10:07 am

Alluvial gold mining set to deliver K355 million to landowners this year

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

Alluvial gold price looks promising says MRA

Post Courier | October 24,2016

ALLUVIAL gold production and revenue levels between 2014 and 2016 have naturally responded to the fluctuating gold prices on the world market.

This is according to the managing director of the Mineral Resources Authority Philip Samar who said in 2016, MRA expects a further decline, with just 90 ounces being produced.

In a statement released yesterday Mr Samar said, production had dropped from a historic high in 2014 of 120 ounces (oz) of gold which had netted K373.3million to 113 oz in 2015, generating K356.3million.

However, he said because gold prices had increased substantially earlier in the year to an average US$1340/oz, (K 4,247.27) and remained stable at that for almost six months (only dropping below US$1200/oz), (K 3,804) the revenue side had been holding against the 2015 figures of K356.3million.

According to the statement revenue to date is K266.7million as at the end of Quarter-3 and MRA projects around K355.6million for the full year.

On the upside, in the past 12 months there has been considerable interest in tenement applications within this sector especially for alluvial mining leases (AML) and associated joint venture arrangements.

According to Mr Samar while some previously approved deals had collapsed, MRA remained confident that the future of the sector especially the ability to generate greater production and significant revenue, lies in mechanisation.

Hence, the theme it is promoting at the upcoming Alluvial Mining Convention which will be held in Goroka on November 3-4, 2016.

The entity had also noted an increase in gold smelting and refining opportunities in PNG from overseas investors.

The conference is open to all and MRA is urging all to attend to not just learn about the sector but establish contacts as well.


Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Alluvial mining reaches peak in Bougainville


PNG Loop | October 2, 20016

Alluvial mining in the Autonomous region of Bougainville is now at its real peak with people taking it as a compulsory exercise and millions worth of gold being taken out.

A lot of con activities are also happening in and around Bougainville spoiling the good name of honest alluvial miners.

In a recent incident, a highlander was conned into buying iron oxide instead of gold and a hundred thousand of his money gone wasted.

When he went into testing in Moresby, it was confirmed that what he bought wasn’t gold at all.

An alluvial gold miner who wishes to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue said a lot of these type of people are spoiling the good name of honest dealers and miners.

“We will surely loose business and buyers will fear buying gold from us because they will think we will trick them like what some people are doing right now,” he said.

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Wau’s small scale mining centre attracts Goilala MP


Wendy Katusele | Loop PNG | September 27, 2016

BULOLO district in the Morobe Province has a lot to offer and one such is the Small Scale Mining Training Centre at Wau.

This activity has now attracted interest from Goilala MP William Samb to send people from his electorate to attend courses offered by  the institution.

This mutual relationship with Bulolo MP Sam Basil for both districts to work together in the name of bringing tangible development to its people.

Goilala MP Samb officially opened the 6th Bulolo District Show on Saturday and a few hours later was on the road to Wau to see for himself the training centre.

He was accompanied by members of his Goilala District Authority who used the opportunity to see other projects run in Basil’s district.

Samb said while both electorates share the same boundary, there was a lot to learn from the Bulolo district and one such was the alluvial mining and training his people was paramout.

He was given a tour around the training centre and was impressed by the set up adding he would not waste time now but to see the first batch of students to come start training next year.

The training facility wholly funded by Mineral Resources Authority was established seven years ago and is the only training centre in the Southern Hemisphere according to training coordinator Samuel Leonarhd.

Leonarhd said the centre offers courses equivalent to TVET in certificate in Small Scale Mining which includes basic background information on small scale mining, introduction to law governing SSM in PNG, introduction to geology, simple gold mining and processing techniques, environmental issues, occupational health and safety, mercury, economics of small scale mining, social issues in personality and gender issues, HIV/Aids.

He said the courses come in level one, two, three and four with also extension and outreach programs offered.

Leonarhd said the centre was established in 2009 and its aim was to empower small scale mining alleviate poverty, reduced unnecessary deaths, awareness on safety practices.

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Alluvial Mining in Papua New Guinea

alluvial watut

Alluvial mining on the Watut river

Eric Schering

A great many Papua New Guineans are searching for ways to earn K300 per fortnight – approximately minimum wage.  The problem is very few jobs are available, especially in the private sector.  Many are scratching out a living as subsistence farmers, which doesn’t provide anywhere near the minimum wage.

With a far-too-high unemployment rate of 70%, income-producing jobs are few and far between.  Papua New Guineans are desperate for opportunities to work for a living wage so they can get past a life expectancy of 58 years.

Alluvial mining is one such opportunity.  Currently between 40,000 and 80,000 Papua New Guineans are putting in long hours under the tropical sun sloshing gravel around in gold pans to put bread on the table.  Some get two grams per day, some five, some more.  It’s good money at the current rate of K70 – K80 per gram.  Even two grams harvested per day will generate K1500 per fortnite.

The price of gold bottomed out at $US1050 per ounce in January of this year and is currently selling at approximately $1360/oz.  By the year 2020 (probably much sooner) gold will reach $2000/oz, 50% higher than present levels, which will yield greater value for the self-employed gold worker.   

The Mining Act of 1992 opened the door wide for Papua New Guineans, allowing them to engage in panning for gold without a license or permit.  All that’s required is getting off one’s duff, a gold pan, and a gallon or two of perspiration.   

Father John Momis is not a happy camper these days.  He’s angry that Rio Tinto decided to equally give the Autonomous Bouganville Government and the PNG government the remaining shares of Rio Tinto PNG.  He is unrealistically demanding that Rio Tinto engage in a costly cleanup project and then allocate significant funds to re-start Panguna mine.  The harsh realities of becoming (or aspiring to become) an independent nation include recognizing that major mining companies are not NGOs coming alongside a nation to help it develop.  They’re out to make a profit.  They are willing to invest time, energy and resources, but only if they are reasonably certain they will get a return on their outlay.    

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

On the positive side, Father Momis can be grateful for the explosion of alluvial miners throughout the length and breadth of his island.  In fact, far too many boys and girls are skipping classes and instead helping out dad and mom in the streams and rivers panning for gold.  School officials in Bougainville complain that enrollment figures have dropped significantly because of school children assisting their parents in the modern day gold rush in ABG.

In the Bulolo district of Morobe Province thousands of alluvial miners are using mercury to isolate the gold they pan.  The PNG government needs to get on top of this quickly because mercury is a very toxic substance.  Far too many alluvial miners use their bare hands to handle the mercy.  They are unaware that use of mercury can lead to damage of the brain, kidneys or lungs and even death.  The PNG government needs to ban the sale and usage of mercury, the sooner the better.

In various parts of the country the Mineral Resource Authority is pro-actively conducting workshops to inform alluvial miners about the how-to’s of effective gold panning as well as the dangers of mercury usage.  Such workshops are well-received and appreciated by locals.  The ABG and the PNG government need to think creatively on how to strengthen the alluvial mining industry in PNG.  The K400 million from the alluvial industry is nothing to sneeze at.

Among nations of the world, PNG’s economy ranks around 150.  However, among gold producers, PNG is number 13.  Gold provides a sizeable chunk of PNG’s government revenues, for many years exceeding 50% of the budget.

Alluvial mining is a key factor for sustainable development in PNG.  Gold panning is much easier on the environment than the large scale mining done by the multi-national mining companies.   

Guangdong and PanAust are planning to develop a huge copper and gold mine on the Frieda River.  It’s about time.  For 40 years the Frieda mine has changed hands from one gold exploration company to another, with no one willing to take the financial risk and do the hard work of constructing the mine.

I’ve learned from a source on the ground in Ambunti that these two companies are planning to build a huge containment facility to contain the tailings.  I hope that’s the case.  Meanwhile, under the shadow of the Hunstein mountains in the Frieda area, many locals in villages such as Okisai and Blackwater and Hotmin continue to pan for gold.      

The Minister for Mining Byron Chan has stated that alluvial mining will double in the five years leading up to 2019.  He’s probably right.  He states:  “The alluvial resource is extensive, under-explored and nation-wide.”   It’s a wide open door!

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