Alluvial mining

Tuke: Reserve Alluvial Mining for Locals

Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke said this during his address of the Southern Regional Consultation forum presentation of the Mine and Works (Safety and Health) Bill 2021 in Port Moresby.

“We do not have any policy guidelines for quarries or for alluvial mining.

“The launch of alluvial mining comes with social impacts on the livelihood of people, at the same time, it is coming with environmental impact on the people. Do we have the policy to manage this environmental damage? It is an extractive industry.

Garry passionate about alluvial mining

Incoming Mineral Resource Authority Managing Director, Jerry Garry, said this recently.

Garry who is passionate about the Alluvial Gold Mining Sector said historical lessons in PNG have given him the drive to revisit the states intervention programs.

He said the alluvial goldfield in Bulolo, Morobe Province, conceived Placer Development Limited in 1926, which later grew from a few kilograms of gold per year to a major successful company in the world.

Alluvial mining for small scale miners, not companies

He said this in support of Morobe Governor, Ginson Saonu.

O’Neill said alluvial mining should be reserved for locals only.

Governor Saonu informed O’Neill that he had with him a letter from the Morobe Gold Field Small Scale Mining Association, on behalf of tenement landowner miners and interested miners in Wau Bulolo Region.

They called for the rejection of an exploration license application made by Wabua Mining Limited and Harmony Gold Exploration Gold Limited in the Wau-Bulolo Valley.

Coordination needed for alluvial mining

PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) head of Secretariat, Lucas Alkan, said alluvial mining and associated activities contributed to the economic wellbeing of a good number of people living remote parts of the country and warranted intervention.

The PNG EITI says alluvial mining in PNG is largely unregulated and there is limited information amongst authorities and stakeholders about the size of this segment of the mining industry.

The MRA estimates that there are up to 80,000 small-scale miners in this category.

Unregulated alluvial mining in PNG

The PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative revealed this in its 2014 report.

It says this leaves authorities and stakeholders with limited information about this segment of the mining industry.

The report stated that alluvial mining accounted for 120 thousand ounces of gold, representing at least 6 percent of the total gold mined in PNG, and K373 million in export revenue.

Dangerous chemicals being smuggled into area: Residents

This advice follows claims by residents that dangerous chemicals are being smuggled into the mining area.

Miner Martin Deforest Nilee told Loop PNG: “Some people are now trading these chemicals for gold and a lot of miners also need these chemicals and are giving away gold for it”.

“The thing we’re concerned about is the threat to human lives and also the environment. What will happen to the ecosystem, the fish and prawns, our daily food from rivers and creeks? Most of these chemicals are being used upstream,” he claims.

Alluvial mining production decreases

Production has continued to fall from the historic high of 120 ounces of gold in 2014 which netted in K373.3m, to 133 ounces in 2015 generating K356.3m.

This year MRA expects that 90 ounces of gold will be produced on the production aspect.

However, because the gold price increased substantially earlier in the year to an average $US1340/oz, and remained stable at that price for almost 6 months (only recently dropping below $US1200/oz), the revenue side is holding against the 2015 figures of K356.3 million.

Alluvial mining reaches peak in Bougainville

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.

Bougainville’s alluvial miners want licensed buyers

Most con artists and bogus buyers have been coming in and lying to most alluvial miners about prices that are beyond ones imagination.

An alluvial miner from the Karato area George Diba told PNG Loop that a lot of gold miners have been tricked and duped by certain conniving agents.

“We have been told that unimaginable prices like K200 to K500 per gram was available and that is not legitimate these are lies we have been told, by certain people who get mind boggled when they see money,”  Diba said.