Mining sector in for upgrades

The National Government through the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) is committed to effectively managing and promoting the mining sector of Papua New Guinea.

This commitment is being demonstrated through the implementation of a lot of initiatives including a World Bank sponsored project - World Bank Technical Assistance 2 (WBTAS2).

With funding from this project the MRA has been rolling out a number of initiatives in the areas of training for MRA officers, support for women landowners in mining projects and support to the Internal Revenue Commission and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Mining Department.

Current plans being implemented under the WBTA2 are the management of small grants for women in mining project areas.

In addition, some MRA staff members are being trained in the process of digitisation of all geological, geochemical and drill core data and maps, currently kept in paper form in the MRA library as exploration reports.

 Nine MRA staff members recently completed training in the digitisation of geological data and maps in Townsville, Australia.

The training was carried out by Townsville based company - Terra Search Ltd - which is a specialist firm in mineral exploration, and provision of consultancy services to companies in Australia. The company has great experiences in similar kind of work in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Principal consultant of Terra Search, Dr Simon Beams said the trainees were taken through the system and process of how data is collected, assayed and reported on.

One of the significant aspects of the training is to recognise the types of data and compile it appropriately for processing.

These data and maps contain useful information on the mineral resources of the country which exploration companies research to gain basic pointers as to which areas in the country have mineral resources.

Some of the data is dated back to the 1960s. The digitisation process is very important for the longevity of the data as it will enable the information to be stored in digital form. The idea is to have all data digitised and packaged so that they are easily accessible and attractive to investors.

The data is packaged and sold at minimal fees to interested individuals, companies and institutions and also displayed at international conferences and road shows.

MRA managing director Philip Samar said the MRA tried to be competitive on the world market in the area of mineral resources exploration and that all these activities are a part of that endeavour.

Continuous output of data is significant for sustainable exploration programs in the country, Mr Samar said.