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.

  • Kasuga Gold Mine in Kagoshima, Japan

    Partial Assistance to Masters and PhD Candidates in filling Application Forms for Japanese Scholarships or Self Sponsor

  • 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, 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


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 its 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 of the developer.

Handling landowner grievances is always a challenge for the PNG Mining Industry.

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


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.


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.

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
  •  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.
  • 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

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.


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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