Tag Archives: Wau

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 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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‘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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Mercury kit study work for small-scale miners

alluvial miners at work

Alluvial miners at work on Bougainville

ONE PNG  | 15 January 2018

A recent mercury research study conducted at the small scale mining branch in Wau, Morobe Province is a collaborative work between the mining engineering department of Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology, the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) through its small scale mining branch and the University of Kyoto-Japan through the leadership of Professor Takaiku Yamamoto, has released its findings.

The use of mercury has become very popular among artisanal and small scale miners because amalgamation is known to efficiently extract fine particles of gold from concentrates obtained by panning and sluicing operations. Gold alloys with mercury to form an amalgam from which the gold can subsequently be separated by evaporating the mercury.

The simplicity of the technique, low investment costs and its comparatively high gold recovery rate has made the mercury amalgam method an integral part of the artisanal and small scale gold mining operations.

In Papua New Guinea, most of the gold deposits worked by the artisanal and small scale gold miners are alluvial deposits in which the gold particles are liberated from gangue particles. It is customary to use riffled sluice-boxes to recover the liberated gold particles.

However, some of the gold particles, particularly the fine gold, does not settle in the riffle compartments but flows over to be discarded as tailings. In the hope of trapping these fine gold particles the artisanal miners frequently place some mercury in between the riffle compartments.

Then in recent years some semi-mechanised and mechanised alluvial mining operations used grinding mills or amalgam barrels for amalgamation of concentrates derived from their recovery systems before putting it through the knelson concentrators or shaking tables for cleaning.

Due to shear force between centrifugal force and drag force in knelson concentrators or the stratification action of the shaking tables, mercury is easily dislodged from the gold and is lost to the tailings. This is because the bonding mechanism holding gold and mercury together is weak and doesn’t require much force to sever the gold particles from the mercury, and because of size and density differences, mercury ends up in the tailings and eventually in the river systems.

However, by far the most dangerous practice adopted by the miners is the gold recovery process from the gold mercury amalgams. Gold is recovered by evaporating the mercury from the amalgam over an open fire

This process is commonly known as “cooking.” The mercury vapour, which includes fine globules, is partly inhaled while the remainder is released into the atmosphere, which returns as part of the “mercury cycle.”

Methods introduced to avoid the practice of releasing mercury into the atmosphere and which can reduce the mercury loss to less than 0.1 per cent are available but have not been so popular amongst miners due to the discolouring effect on the gold after distillation in a retort.

This discolouration is caused by the presence of iron and arsenic compounds and results in a lower price being offered by gold buyers for the product.

One such device is the “Mercury Retort” which evaporates the mercury in a closed cycle and recovers it by condensing the vapour with cooling water.

Mercury is toxic and an environmental pollutant which drew world attention in 1953 after it was reported that a large number of people living in the Minamata bay area in Japan developed symptoms of disease which affected their central nervous system after consuming fish.

The fish in the bay were contaminated with methyl-mercury as a result of mercury being released into the bay by the Chisso Corporation, a chemical company operating on the shores of the bay. The mercury poisoning was responsible for a variety of clinical symptoms which included speech impediments, failure of muscular coordination, and contraction of visual fields in the eye, disturbance in smooth eyeball movements, enteral hearing loss and unbalance of body. The disease is now commonly known as the “Minamata Disease.”

The recent study conducted at theMRA small scale mining branch in Wau was a collaborative work between the mining engineering department of Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology, the University of Kyoto-Japan and the small scale miners in Wau/Bulolo was to trial a an Amalgam retorting machine from Kyoto University-Japan.

The objective was to test run the Japanese mercury recovery kit, a prototype amalgam retorting machine for the recovery of mercury and critically assess the overall performance, its efficiency and ease of operation of the device.

The promotion and use of the retorts would be very beneficial in the long term as they are capable of reducing discharge of mercury vapour into the atmosphere and the environment. It can also recover bulk of the mercury for recycling which would be a potential economic gain for the small scale miners and the chances of them being poisoned can be minimized through the establishment of central facilities in alluvial mining active areas which will alleviate the more dangerous practice of ‘cooking” amalgams.

A batch of mercury gold amalgam samples were provided by the miners from around Wau/Bulolo mining areas for over a period of one week to conduct the research activity by retorting them in the furnace at four different temperatures (300-500 OC, 300-600 OC, 300-700 OC ,300-800 OC) and the mercury recovery results observed ,recorded and calculated.

From this activity, it is noted that mercury which was emitted during the process was mostly trapped in the condensers 1 and 2.

The carbon filter indicated zero mercury which concludes that the air released at the vacuum pump has zero mercury vapour.

From the results obtained, the research team concluded after careful assessment of the overall performance and efficiency of the mercury recovery kit that it is an appropriate technology and should be promoted and used in Papua New Guinea’s artisanal and small scale gold mining industry for mercury and recycling recovery.

MRA managing director, Philip Samar, who was instrumental in introducing the technology, said the purpose of this collaboration was to reduce and mitigate the increased use and disposal of mercury into the environment and increase alluvial gold production, resulting in the health of both the environment and people plus improving the wellbeing of ordinary PNG alluvial miners.

The MRA through its small scale mining branch in Wau would like to thank its research partners for the collaborative work undertaken.

This has set a milestone in being proactive in reducing and controlling mercury contamination to the environment and the users in the artisanal and small scale mining industry.

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Wau’s small scale mining centre attracts Goilala MP

wau-small-scale-mining

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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Small-scale mining could deliver K1 billion in revenue

Small scale miner in PNG granted license

One PNG

SMALL Scale Mining activities in Wau/Bulolo district of Morobe Province have contributed K4 million to the Government in terms of revenue.

wauMineral Resources Authority (MRA) Small Scale Mining branch manager Al Comparativo told small scale miners when presenting mining lease licenses to lease holders at Misis Booth near Wau last Saturday.

Mr Comparativo said the revenue should increase to K1 billion through approved mining licences.

The lease license number 270-277 was handed over to the mining lease holder Westie Awiong.

“I congratulate Awiong for being granted a mining licence by MRA to conduct proper mining operations after meeting all the small scale mining lease requirements.

“There are more than 124 mining licence applications waiting to be processed by MRA and four (4) mining licences had been granted. Three lease holders are from Wau in Morobe and one from Milne Bay Province,” he said.

Comparativo said the process of acquiring a mining lease is long and the mining lease holder must meet all the regulatory requirements by submitting a detailed survey report, development plan, compensation, environmental plan and financial capacity reports and submit it to MRA for its screening and approval.

He explained that Mr Awiong had met all the requirements and had been granted the mining licence by MRA to conduct mining operations at the ML 270-277 at Misis Booth in Wau.

The Philippine graduate geologist who spent 17 years in PNG said Wau/Bulolo had a long mining history during the colonial era and it should be restored back to its former glory as the leading and historical mining town in PNG, now and into the future.

Mining lease holder Mr Awiong thanked MRA for granting him the mining licence and also his partner Wabu Alluvial Mining Ltd for entering into a joint venture partnership agreement with him to help to get the alluvial mining project off the ground in Wau.

“I am grateful and honoured and thank MRA and JV partner Wabu Alluvial Mining Ltd for providing financial assistance to get this project off the ground,” a delighted Awiong said.

“I also encourage other small scale mining lease holders in Wau/Bulolo to follow the legal process to obtain the mining licence to venture into mining operations.”

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Mining School to get support

“The future of Bulolo’s economy will be on the hands of alluvial miners.”

alluvial miners at work

PNG Education News

THE Wau Small Scale Mining School will continue to benefit from funding from the Bulolo joint district planning and budget priorities committee each year to train local alluvial miners.

MP Sam Basil sees the future alluvial mining can provide for his people

MP Sam Basil sees the future alluvial mining can provide for his people

Bulolo MP and JDP&BPC chairman  Sam Basil presented K93,500 last Saturday to Al Comparativo, manager of the school, to facilitate  training of miners from the 110 wards of Bulolo.

The school was established by Mineral Resources Authority and Basil said the committee was obliged to continue its support.

“We have facilitated funding for 2014 training which will take in 110 participants from each of the wards.

“They will participate in the level one course and return to complete level two,” Basil said.

“The traditional long-term alluvial miners can be found between the highway between Bulolo and Wau towns and recently, we have increased activities of alluvial mining along Bulldog Track and along Waria Valley into Buang.

“The future of Bulolo’s economy will be on the hands of alluvial miners.”

Basil said from the estimated K400 million projected into the national economy in 2011, more than K100 million came from the Bulolo alluvial miners.

“With continued support, I believe that MRA will have continued trust in Bulolo district and I will make sure that our support continues as long as I remain the Bulolo MP.”

Comparativo thanked the Bulolo JDP&BPC on behalf of the MRA.

Basil said only Grade 12’s passing out of Grace Memorial Secondary and Grade 10’s from Baiyun High who have been selected into tertiary institutions will be accorded sponsorship from the Bulolo  JDP&BPC

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