Learning and Discussion of Innovative ideas about Mining Waste Management and also Mining Related News and Activities

  • Mine Waste Management Training

    Mine Waste Management Short training sponsored by Government of Japan through JICA in corporation with the Government of PNG through CEPA, MRA and DMPGM.

  • Mount Sinivit Mine

    Acid mine drainage (AMD) continues to flow from the abondoned workings (mine). It is of two types and they are Mine Drainage from underground and open-pit and the seepage water from waste dump and tailings dam.

  • Mining Warden Hearing at Ok Isai Village, Frieda River, East Sepik Province, PNG

    Landowner grievances is always a challenge for the PNG Mining Industry. However, the Regulators of the Mining Inductry facilitate Mining Warden Hearings and Development Forums to address grievances related to mining.

  • Osarizawa Underground Mine Adit

    Osarizawa Underground Mine is an abandoned mine in Akita Prefecture, Japan. Event though the mine is closed, the mine site is kept for sightseeing purposes.

  • Hidden Valley Tailings Storage Facility (TSF)

    Mine Waste refers to the waste related to mining activities such as tailings and waste rock. Management refer to how the mine derived waste is managed by the operator and or the Regulatory Body.




Thursday, 28 December 2017

Ramu Nickel Mine Prepares for Royalty Payment

The Ramu Nickel and Cobalt Mine in Kurumbukari, in Madang Province is preparing to pay long waited royalty to the landholders. This was reported in the National News Paper dated 28th December 2017.

Landholder Royalty for Ramu Nickel Project has not been paid since shipment till to date. This delay could be due yo the tax holiday given to the developer by the government or as a condition in the Mining Developments Contract(MDC).

This matter was brought to light but it was further delayed since then to settle administrative processes. It is now looking promising as the developer takes initiative to organize the landholders in preparation for royalty and other benefits that are ongoing.

The Mining Act 1992 is somewhat drafted in way as to cater for landholders grievances and expectations. Like in the case of landowner royalty, it will he paid directly into their accounts rather than landowners front the company's office or government's office to get their rightfully due payments.

Credits to MCC for this step towards royalty payment.
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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Rapid PACKTEST

Rapid PACKTEST is commonly known as PACKTEST. This test is a simple onsite method of testing water quality which produces amazing results in a split of a second. It does not require complicated analytical techniques to determine the quality of water. Concentration of heavy metals, precious metals and any other elements and compounds in the water are detected using this method. pH of water can also be determined using this method. Water in this case can be a flowing creek,settling ponds, pool beside vats or heap leach pads, mine pits etc.

     PACKTEST Results for Pihema Creek, 
      Morobe Province.  Cyanide Detected
       (Dark-blue).
The results indicate the concentration of elements intended to test in the water which also influences the pH of water. The readings will give an estimated range of figures and do not have to be exact. Readings are taken with confidence in accuracy of about 90%. To obtain exact results, further laboratory testing is recommended.

It is recommended that Pact Test should be practiced by all government regulators in the extractive industries especially in the Mining and petroleum industry. This will greatly help during statutory inspections which can give results instantly onsite rather than waiting for results in the laboratory after few weeks or months. This will also be a alert for the industry to treat waste water effectively or improve on their waste water treatments and monitoring techniques.
The process and the setup of the testing method are outlined below.

Sampling Procedure for PACKTEST
1.            Fetch water in container and filter the water using syringe and 0.45┬Ám filter to filter water sample and pour filtered water sample into a clear mini cylinder.
2.             Remove the colored line at the top of the tube to clear the aperture.
3.            Press tube's sidewall to expel air, and hold the tube.
4.            Immerse the aperture of the tube into the water sample in the mini cylinder and release to fill the tube halfway.
5.            Shake the tube slowly for few seconds.
6.            Wait for the reaction time as indicated in the instruction manual, and then compare the actual color in the tube with provided Standard Color. The nearest color indicates the concentration value (mg/L = ppm) of the analyte in your sample.
 The above Figure is a simplified diagram by
KYORITSU CHEMICAL-CHECK Lab
 as a guide.

Note: Cyanide is tested differently. Before the above procedure is applied, first of all dissolve the mixing reagent into the filtered water in a small enclosed translucent cube of about 2cm x 2cm x 1.5cm in size. Finally immerse the cyanide reagent into the solution and release to fill up the tube. Shake the tube and record the reading after 8 minutes.

The reaction times for each element or compound varies from seconds to minutes. Reaction time for cyanide takes longer than any other elements or compounds. It could be other elements or compounds as well but during the tests conducted by the reporter indicated that cyanide took longer than other elements.

It is recommended that PACKTEST should be conducted on site. It would be a bad practice if sample is taken from a different spot and date and tested on different date and location as the results would not represent the sample location and time. If you do then be aware to note the results and anticipate error in the readings recorded.

Other Equipment for testing water quality includes but not limited to pH meter, Turbidity Meter. pH meter is for measuring the pH level of water  and also measure the temperature of water. Turbidity meter measures turbidity of water and also temperature and metal conductivity in the water. 

Turbidity is the measure of suspended particles of sediments flowing under or through the water. It could be steal water or running water.

Related Articles:
Data Collection of Rapid PACKTEST Results
Data Analysis of Rapid PACKTEST Results
How to Conduct Rapid PACKTEST in a Well


Note: This post is subject to change based on continuous review and amendment.
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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Mining Warden Hearing in Papua New Guinea

Mining Warden Hearing is an open forum to gauge public views of the people who would be affected by an exploration work program or any activity related to mining. It is one of the requirements in the Mining Act 1992 for any kind of mining related licence/lease grant.

Warden Hearing is conducted in accordance with Section 108 of the Mining Act 1992. During the Mining Warden Hearing, the warden on the ground explains the purpose of the meeting and allow the applicant or an agent  of the applicant to explain the work program in brief to the stakeholders present. The applicant/agent explains the work program or the proposal for development to the warden and the people at the hearing venue on the date and time fixed for the hearing.

The warden then allow the people who are within the tenement boundary or  just around the tenement boundary who would be affected by the applicant's proposal for development to give their views and further advise them to make clear their stand with reasons whether they support the application or otherwise. The warden then records and assess the views of the affected landholders.

The warden also allow people whom he considers that, the work program for the applicant will also affect them to give their views as well and he will record and assess them.

Finally the warden allows the local government representative of the host province if any present at the hearing venue on the date and time fixed for hearing to give the views on behalf of the host government wether it could be Local Level Government or Provincial Government.

Without further delay the warden thank all the people for fulfilling the requirements under the Mining Act 1992 under Section 108.

The warden may adjourn the hearing from time to time and from place to place where feasible and economical.

The Warden prior to opening the heaing, he explains that anything related to land disputes and environment matters are not discussed in this forum.  Such disputes or issues are to be brought forward to relevant government bodies to address them accordingly. i.e. Land dispute matters to be brought to the attention of Lands and Physical Planning Department and Environment matters to Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA).
Mining Warden Hearing at Ok Isai, for the Frieda River SML 9 Application in the West Sepik Province 

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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Zeolite Mine in Japan


Zeolite is defined in the OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS Dictionary as any of a large group of minerals consisting of hydrated aluminosilicates, used as cation exchangers and molecular sieves.

Zeolite is varies from colours dictated by the host rocks and soil and also reaction with the atmosphere. The colour of Pure Zeolite is blue-green (Teal) or sky-blue.  A fresh-cut zeolite ore looks a bit green but when it gets expose to air and dry, it will look like a sky-blue.

Zeolite is one of the most demanding mineral products in the agro-industry as well as mining industry especially in mine waste management section of environment department. The Agro-industry requires the end product of zeolite mineral in treating water and soil.

The Zeolite Mine in Akita Prefecture in Japan is one of the small scale mines which utilises one excavator and one haul truck at the mine site apart from processing facilities. Mining and Processing of zeolite to its finished product is so simple and does not require intensive labour. There are about two-three workers at the mine site. The operational costs and capital costs are too low and the operation is feasible at a minimum cost.  One excavator does dual tasks by changing the mounted bucket and rock drill bit. To break the ore, drill bit is inserted. After drilling is done, bucket is inserted to collect the fractured zeolite ore and further stockpile on site for haulage.

One haul truck is used for transporting the ore to the processing facilities. From the processing facilities, ore is crushed, screened and packed depending on customers’ demand and requisition. This process is repeated which constitute the mine cycle. If demand increases, production is increased which obviously require additional equipment and labour to cater for the demand.

Zeolite is extremely amazing in the water treatment. If zeolite powder is poured or mix with dirty water, you will definitely get clear water as zeolite causes the suspended particles in water to settle to the bottom of the water within few seconds.  Polluted soils can be treated to regain its normal soil fertility.  Zeolite powders are also fed to livestock.  If zeolite ore is placed in water, it will melt like ice-ream until the junk is disappeared.

Zeolite can be used as either passive or active treatment in the mine waste water treatment.

(Picture of Zeolite Mine in Akita Prefecture near Kosaka, Japan)

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Bulolo Opposing New Exploration

 
The Bulolo people (both local & Business Communities) have overwhelmingly objected the Exploration Licence Application lodged by Wabu Alluvials Limited which is also a local company.

 As a process of licence grant, the applicant must meet the requirements specified in the Mining Act 1992 of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

Wabu Alluvials Limited lodged an Exploration License Application with the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) to obtain an Exploration Licence to explore for minerals. While the licence is under the process of granting or refusal by the Minister for Mining, the local communities and the business communities lodged written objections with the Mineral Resources Authority through the office of The Chief Mining Warden. The landholders objected the ELA stating that the company will disturb their environment and also interrupt their routine business activities. They even published on the National News Paper through the Bulolo District Administrator Tae Gwambelek.

It is a requirement under the Mining Act 1992 that the applicant must facilitate a Mining Warden Hearing which is conducted by the appointed Mining Warden to gauge the views of the affected landholders, pursuant to Section 108 of The Mining Act 1992.  Once the views of the affected landholders are gauged, a report of this hearing is provided to the Mining Advisory Council (MAC) for further deliberation to the Minister for Mining. Finally, the Mining Minister has the final authority whether to grant the licence or otherwise based on MAC’s Advice.

All the related licences/leases specified under the Mining Act 1992 follow the same process. This is transparent and views of the affected stakeholders are fairly gauged.


WardenHearing for this application was adjourned to a later date which will be fixed by the Registrar of Mineral Tenements and the Chief Mining Warden.

The next post will be the procedures of Mining Warden Hearing Process. Stay in tune
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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Mine Waste Disposal in Papua New Guinea

Mine waste disposal is any waste related to mining is disposed into any environment. Environment could be land, river or deep sea or tailings dam. Waste can be either solid or slurry.

Most of the mining companies in PNG provide shallow reasons to government to allow them to dispose mine waste into river or deep sea tailing placements.
Some of these factors include but not limited to:
- Topography
- Climatic conditions.
-Geological structures with respect to seismic activities.
- Soil/rock competency etc..

The above are the factors that pose threat to the tailings dam construction, thus developers propose to dump tailings into riverine and deep sea tailings placement.

Hidden Valley mine and K92 mine have built TSF  and it is anticipated that other new mining projects could build TSF.

PNG should completely discourage riverine tailings and DSTP in PNG and encourage TSF to save PNG from mining waste management issues.
Waste Rock Dump at Ok Tedi Mine

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Relationship of pH and Conductivity of Heavy Metal Contents under Rainy Condition

pH increases as the conductivity is low in water. Heavy rain can increase the conductivity of heavy metals contents in water which reduce the pH of water.

During heavy rain you would expect a higher reading for conductivity and turbidity on the turbidity measuring equipment. at the same location and during dry days you would expect a different reading with low pH values.
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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Mine Waste Management Training in Japan, 2017

Mine Waste Management Short training sponsored by Government of Japan through JICA in co-orporation with the Government of PNG through CEPA, MRA and DMPGM.

The training lasted two weeks and 6 officers from MRA and CEPA attended the training. The training comprise of theory and practicals and site inspections throughout Japan.

The training was a good exposure and skills acquired will be applied in drafting policies to encourage mining with environment friendly manner.This project will continue till 2018.
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Possible Mine Pollution in a Metal Mine

In an event when rain fall, water seepage cause subsidence of overburden materials. Rain water reacts with acid forming rocks and generate acid mine drainage (AMD). The ionized water flows with lose particles of materials known to be sediment runoff which eventually becomes the tributary of a nearby stream. Consequently the pH is reduced at the nearby stream.

Sometimes structures of facilities fail and waste water is released into the environment without proper treatment and this is a concern for environment pollution along the riverine inhabitants. 

In sulfide mines the possible pollution are:
  • Acid drainage from mine adit
  • Surface exposure to atmosphere and moisture
  • Tailing dam gradually eroded by river water
  • Bursting of waste rock/tailing dam
  • collapse of abandoned dressing plant.
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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Landowner Compensation in Mining Industry of Papua New Guinea

Landowner compensation is any sum of money paid by an exploration or mining company based on the value of disturbances caused by the company during exploration or mining.

Landholders of any exploration or mining activity are entitled to receive compensation payment depending on the value of disturbance to the environment. The Exploration company or the mining operator is liable to pay compensation under the  Mining Act 1992 (S.154) for Papua New Guinea.

During the exploration phase, there are no agreements signed between landholders and the explorer prior to exploration. Only mutual agreements are made prior  to actual exploration and compensation is paid according to Valuer General's Latest Schedule. The Latets Valuer General's Schedule is the 2013 version. Other rates for the extractive industry can be access at the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum office.

Prior to entry and occupation and development of a Mining or ancillary operation to mining, a Compensation Agreement is a requirement for the developer and the landholders whom they will be affected by the mining operation or its related operation(s). Once agreements are signed and registered, it becomes legal document that will guide the operation in the intended aspect.

Compensation payment can be one-off payment or periodic payment depending on the agreement. In exploration, they are one-off payment of compensation in which one cannot claim compensation on the same area which was already compensated.

Compensation Agreement in the Mining Lease or Special Mining Lease and related leases and easements is a requirement. Once it is registered for execution, it becomes a legal document and it guids the operation.

Typical Disturbance of Natural Topography

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Monday, 15 May 2017

Landowner Grievances in Mining Industry of Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Landowner Grievances is any form of complaints or request raise by landowning clans/tribes/families to the exploration or mining developer. Grievances can be addressed to government or developer/company for consideration and action.

The threat to the Mining Industry of PNG is the Landowner Grievances during the Exploration phase throughout the stages of mine i.e. to advanced stages to development stage to production to shipment.
Chief Mining Warden of Mineral Resources Authority Conducting
Mining Warden Hearing for Special Mining Lease 9 (SML 9) for Frieda River
 at Ok Isai  Village in Sandaun Province
If an exploration company is given an Exploration Licence to explore within 2 years with a possibility to renew every 2 years, the licence authorise the holder the exclusive rights to enter and occupy the marked out area for the purpose of exploration.


In the process of exploration some of the natural environment is disturbed and the holder is liable to pay compensation under Section 154 of the Mining Act 1992. The holder shall compensate according to the latest Valuer General's Schedule (Rate). The current one is the 2013 Valuer General Schedule 2013. During the exploration the license holder record any natural landscape before actual disturbance is done.

Sometimes, the landowners misunderstand exploration from mining and they demand the exploration company to pay them compensation at a dreamed figures that do not actually reflect the disturbances caused during the exploration. This is a common practice for almost all landowners.

Once the exploration phase is advanced to a stage where resource information is discovered and reported under JORC Code 2012 or any other reporting standards in the world, landowners get excited and put more pressure on the license holder in terms of handling landowner grievances.

There are two types of landowners, the legitimate landowners and paper landowners. Legitimate landowners are those who can be identified on the ground at the project area whereas paper landowners are those who claim to be landowners who usually have easy access to the mining company's/companies' offices and the mining regulators' offices.

Landowners at Ok Isai Village gave their views during the Mining
Warden Hearing of SML 9 - Frieda River Mining Project
To cater for and take into consideration such grievances, the Mining Act makes allowances for the landowners to express their views/grievances to the company and the regulators during Mining Wardens Hearing and Development Forums. These are avenues where landowner views/grievances are gauged and addressed through appropriate communication channels.



However, when landowner issues are not addressed properly, conflict arises the developer and sometimes it operations are forced to shutdown due to tension between developer and landowners. In such cases, the regulators and the company quickly resolve through community relations office for the developer.

Handling landowner grievances is always a challenge for the PNG Mining Industry.
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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Mining Regulators in Papua New Guinea

Mining Regulators are the Government organisations that either directly or indirectly regulate the Mining Industry in Papua New Guinea(PNG).

The Mining Industry of Papua New Guinea is regulated by three Government agencies. The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) of PNG. Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazard Management (DMPGM) and Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA).

DMPGM is responsible for drafting and amending legislation related to mining operations in PNG.

Conservation and Environment Protection Authority is responsible for issuing Environment Permit, regulating and monitoring the industry in terms of environment protection and conservation as stipulates in the Environment Act 2000. CEPA plays a vital role in reviewing Environment Impact Studies and approve Environment Permit with conditions based on widely accepted best practice in managing mining related waste.

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) is the Active Regulator of the Mining Industry in Papua New Guinea. MRA is a Government Agency and all functions are performed on behalf of the Government.
Staff of Mineral Resources Authority at Mining Haus, Port Moresby, PNG


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Monday, 8 May 2017

Mines in Papua New Guinea (PNG)

The Independent State of Papua New Guinea Hosts some of the world class mines and medium to smalle scale mines that produce various mineral types. PNG is analogically express by most people as "Mountain of Gold Floating on ocean of Oil surrounded by Natural Gas".

The world class large scale mines in PNG include:
  • Ok Tedi Copper & Gold Mine
Ok Tedi Mine is an open pit mine that produces copper, gold and silver as major commodities and other impurities of heavy metal contents like pyrite, lead, zinc etc. It is located at the the Star Mountain in the Western Province of PNG.
  •  Porgera Gold Mine
Porgera Gold Mine is an underground and open pit mine that produces gold and silver. It is located in Enga Province of PNG.
  • Lihir Gold Mine
Lihir Gold Mine is an open pit mine that produces gold and it is located at the Island of Gold, Lihir, New Ireland Province of PNG.
  • Ramu Nickel & Cobalt Mine.
Ramu Nickel Mine is an open pit mine that produce Nickel,Cobalt, Chromite. It is located in the Madang Province of PNG.
  • Hidden Valley Gold Mine
Hidden Valley is a large scale open pit mine that produces silver and gold. It is located in the Wau Bulolo Area in the Morobe Province of PNG.

Some of the Medium to Small Scale Mining Operations in PNG include:
  • Simberi Gold
Simber is a medium scale open pit mine that produces Gold and Silver and is located in the New Ireland Province of PNG.
  • Tolukuma Gold Mine
 Tolukuma is a Medium scale open pit and underground mine that produces gold and silver. It is located in the Central Province of PNG.
  • Kainantu (K92) Mine
K92 Mine is an underground Mine that produces gold and silver. It is Located in the Estern Highlands Province of PNG.
  • Eddie Creek Mine
Eddie Creek is a small scale open pit mining operation that produces gold and silver. It is located near the old mining townships of Bulolo and Wau in the Morobe Province of PNG.
  • Mt.Sinivit Mine
Mt.Sinivit Mine is an abandoned mine but it has a potential for further development. It Produced gold and silver. It is located in the Pomio District , Rabaul in The East New Britain Province.
  • Mt.Crater Gold Mine
Mt.Crater is a small scale underground mine in PNG that produces gold and silver. It is located in the Eastern Highlands Province.




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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Mining Waste Management in Papua New Guinea is a Challenge

Challenge in the Mine Waste Management refers to difficulties experience by mining industry in managing the mine related wastes in order to effectively protect the surrounding environment.

Factors contribute to the issues in the Mining Industry include but not limited to:
  • Natural Factors
  • Waste/mine water treatment and tailings /waste discharge into river systems and Deep Sea  Tailings Placement (DSTP).
  • Disputes between landowners...
Natural factors in the tropics with  high altitude and high annual rainfall (2000-5000mm) pose threat to the stability of tailings dam construction due to potential failure.
Other factors that attracts more attention are tectonic plate movements and structures along or near the Pacific Rim of Fire.

In such circumstances, the Mining Industry discharges waste into the river systems which causes pollution to the riverine and ecology within the vicinity of the mine impacted communities downstream.

Deep See Tailings Placement is another option that the industry looks at where there is no river system that is feasible to discharge tailings.

Continuous deposition of waste and tailings into the river systems not only cause pollution but also sedimentation and turbidity issues that reflect in the river course diversion and disturb the environment.

The Mining Industry utilizes all available technologies to treat waste water at processing plant sites and raise the pH to 8-12. There are certain spots where water samples collected and tested to analyse the water quality. Mine Waste Management is always a challenge even though continuous efforts invested every second.
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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Mining Technology Innovations in History

The First gold mining commenced in the ancient Egypt as early as 5,000 years ago. There were four Historical Innovations in the Mining Technologies which greatly contributed to the progress in mining which include:
  • Explosives 
  • Steam engine
  • Froth flotation
  • Electrochemistry
Explosives
  •  The Black Powder is invented in the Tong Dynasty of China (618~907 AD) and is included among the great four inventions of the medieval China along with paper, printing and compass.
  • Early Applications of black powder for mining were recorded in Germany in 1613 and in Hungary in 1627.
  • Dynamite is the origin of modern explosives was invented by Alfred Nobel in 1866. Thereafter, safe and effective rock breakage was successfully practiced both in civil engineering works and mining operations.
Steam Engine
  • Before Industrial Revolution, invention of steam engines, natural energy such as water flow, wind, human muscle, animal power, gravity force, etc is only used for drainage, ventilation, transportation..
  • Thomas Newcomen invented Newcomen steam engine in 1712 which was the first practical device to utilize the power of steam to produce mechanical work, principally to pump out water from coal mines.
  • However, Newcomen engine was costly to operate because of its insufficiency caused by  heat loss.Newcomen engine was gradually replaced by James Watt's improved engine introduced in 1769.
  • By using steam engines, mining was getting into deeper and larger scaled operations.
Froth Flotation
  • The modern froth flotation process was invented in the early 1900s in Australia. Before the flotation technology was available, ore and waste minerals were generally separated by using differences in specific gravity, but hardness and friability /abrasiveness may also affected the separation.
  • Using froth flotation create possibility in separation of valuable minerals from gangue minerals by taking advantages of differences in their hydrophobicity. The flotation process is used for the separation of a large range of sulfide, carbonates and oxides prior to further refinement. 
  • Flotation process is widely used in modern mining to effectively to correct useful minerals and to efficiently concentrate worthy minerals from lower grade ore.
Electrochemistry
  • Modern Copper refining utilizes the electrolysis to purify blister copper upgrading to refined copper with higher grade ore over 99.99% Cu. In Copper electro-refining, large slabs of blister copper serve as the anodes and thin sheets of pure copper serve as the cathodes in an electrolytic cell filled with copper sulfate solution, CuSO4.  Application of a suitable voltage to the electrodes causes oxidation of copper metal at the anode and reduction of Cu2+ to form copper metal at the cathode, since the copper is both oxidized and reduced more readily than water.
  • The impurities in the anode including gold silver can be collected below the anode as anode sludge.
  • Electrochemistry also contributes to the hydro-metallurgical recovery of metals, such as SX/EW.

Ref: Jiro Yamatomi, A Fundamental Lecture on Mining Technologies from MINETEC, October 2015
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Mining and Natural Environment

Mining is one of the old human activities just like agriculture, fishery, forestry, manufacturing etc. Human lives are supported by obtaining and utilizing mineral resources from the earth's crust.

The Distinctive Features of Mines and Mining include but not limited to the following:

  • Non-renewable assets - Mining Industry is based on non-reproducible and depleting assets. 
  • Location  - Mining takes places where the ore body is reachable at economic value.
  • Environment Impacts - Mining may disturb and contaminate the surrounding environments.
  • Local Community Relations - Usually mines are located in the remote areas, thus close relationship with local communities is strongly encouraged.
  • Working Condition - Occupational Health and Safety are the first priorities of mining.
  • High Risk and Vulnerability - Mining Projects are susceptible to a variety of risks.
  • Long Leading Time - Engineering works and permission to open a new mine need a longer term.
  • Required Engineering Ability - Stable and successful mining is likely dependent on a combination of widely used practical technologies.
  • Capital Advantage - Intense capital is required for continuous prospect or explore new deposits and endure risky business.
Out of the distinctive features of mines and mining, one of the most critical agenda around the globe is the Environment Impacts related to mining.

Environment Impact in mining is unavoidable but can be controlled to minimize the aftermaths. Mining is a backbone of a country's economic growth. In Papua New Guinea(PNG), the country's economy is mostly dependent on the extractive Industry which include Mining and Petroleum.

Some people in PNG speak negative about mining and encourage the protection of the natural environment. It should be understood that, before gardening, it must be cultivation of the land for farming. Then sacrifice the vegetation to farm the land. Similarly, the forest and the surrounding environment is sacrificed to mine out what is on/beneath the earth's crust including ocean floor.

There are legislations, prevention and treatment techniques available to safeguard and protect the environment from the waste generated from the mines.


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Monday, 1 May 2017

Mercury Pollution and Prevention Measures In Papua New Guinea

Mercury is a heavy silvery-white liquid metal used in some thermometers and barometers. (Symbol: Hg). It is also used to extract fine gold from the mixture of fine sand. Dispose of mercury into the environment is harmful.

Mercury is used in many ways and people do not realize when it gets released into the environment which in turn causes mercury pollution.

In Papua New Guinea almost all Small Scale Miners use mercury in the amalgamation process during gold recovery from the fine sands. Mercury is used in different ways to recover gold. some pour in between the riffles on the sluice boxes in an attempt to capture fine-grained gold.

The contact time between the gold and mercury is not effective for the amalgamation to occur. Often fine gold remains suspended in the flow of particles above the riffles and do not settles to contact the mercury. Thus, about 30  percent (%) of mercury used in sluice boxes in PNG is release into the river systems.This is actually a treat to the environment.

The Mineral Resources Authority's Small Scale Mining Branch in Wau- Morobe Province try its best to train local miners especially small scale miners on Safe Use and Handling Of Mercury in the process of amalgamation. The Training Center also train the miners other alternatives to be use in the gold recovery process to avoid use of mercury.

Other alternative methods of gold recovery techniques the small scale miners should be looking at would be Gravity Separation methods in the recovery of fine gold.
Gravity separation methods are vital and best alternatives to engaged instead of Mercury. Such methods include but not limited to:

  •  Recovery of Fined Size of gold grain should use Shaking table, Humphreys spiral, Pinced sluices, Reichert cone, etc..
  •  Recovery of more finer gold particle should use Nelson concentrator, Falcon concentrator.
The mercury released into the environment is unaccounted for and undetected. Mercury can be detected by a Rapid Pack-test by use of Rapid pack test kits. However, rapid pack test is not available in the country and it is anticipated that pack-test kits will be imported from overseas to use for training and study purposes. 

The next strategy is to ban import of mercury and introduce the alternative gold recovery methods and draft a treatment strategy through research and training. 
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Friday, 28 April 2017

Passive and Active Treatment of Mine Waste Water

Active treatment is the water treatment in which continuous effort is required to improve the quality of water. It requires artificial ongoing energy inputs and bio-chemical or chemical reagents.

Passive treatment is a intended water treatment method to improve the quality of water by the use  of available natural materials or energy sources in the systems that minimises the regular maintenance for the system to operate effectively over the entire life of system design.

Benefits of Passive Treatment
  • Reduces the cost of treatment
  • Reduces labour cost - maintenance is almost free.
  • Effective Natural purification
  • Reduces operating cost (chemicals, electricity etc..)
  • No disturbance to the natural landscape
Challenges of Active Treatment

  • Capital and operational cost is very high.
  • Requires more effort and close monitoring.
  • Requires high cost of maintenance.
  • Landscape disturbance is necessary.
Continuous research is required to develop a technology of how best and effective way that will minimise cost of installation and maintenance of active water treatment plants.
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Abandoned Mines and Possible Issues

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)  is a common issue in abandoned mines. AMD is produced by oxidation of pyrite (FeS2) and AMD also contains heavy metals.

After the exploitation of sulfide minerals in the metals mines, heavy metals such as pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, galena and other minerals that are not mined during the mining operation. The remaining minerals react over time with groundwater and oxygen and produce acid mine drainage that heavy metals are contained in it.

Tailings dam where tailings of mine related waste are dumped into the tailings dam or Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) become a source of mine pollution as seepage. Metals in the seepage water from the tailings dam dissolve out with rain and surface water which eventually contribute to the issues.

The content of heavy metals reduces the pH level of Water and reduces the quality of water which people commonly refer to as mine pollution.
Photo: Example of Abandoned Mine  - Mt.Sinivit Gold Mine, PNG.

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Water Pollution

Water Pollution is of two types. Waste Water Pollution and Mine Water Pollution. Mine water pollution is induce when water from the mine or rain water passes through exposed acid forming rocks/minerals. Waste water pollution is when the miner/operator of the mining project discharges the waste water containing heavy metals into the environment. Both of them causes the pH of the water/creeks/rivers to be lower than 7.

Some mines treat the waste water and raise the pH level up to 10 at the water treatment plants before discharging into the environment.

Waste water can be treat and controlled by active treatment and mine water can be actively treated or passively treated. Active treatment of mine water is an expensive exercise.

Mine Water pollution and its treatment is a challenge for all the Mining Regulators in the world today. Most tributary creeks/rivers of the polluted creeks/rivers have higher pH which can dilute the polluted creek/river and raise pH level.

One of the challenges face by the riverine communities is turbidity which affects the drinking water quality and also the diversion of river course which affects the riverine communities as well.

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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mine Waste Management

Mine Waste refers to the waste related to mining activities such as tailings,waste rock, sediment, chemical residues, etc . Management refer to how the mine derived waste is managed by the operator and or the Regulatory  Bodies.

This site welcomes critics and comments and suggestions related to the Mine Waste Management to improve the lives of people living within the vicinity of mine impact areas.


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