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Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Small Scale Mining in Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Small-scale mining in Papua New Guinea was practiced for more than a century when the first ever gold discovery was done in the Sudest Island in in the Milne Bay Province in 1888. The small-scale mining operation then extended to other neighbouring islands of Missima and Woodlark and further to the other parts of Papua New Guinea.

It is also known that about 100 years ago there were also miners mining on the Yodda and Gira fields in Oro Province and 10 years later at Lakekamu in Gulf Province in 1920s. These discoveries led to the development of major mining operations in Papua new Guinea.

Gold is still actively produced in Bulolo Wau area as well as other areas in PNG today.

The early miners were able to open up the Highlands in the 1930's and located gold at Kainantu, Kuta and Porgera. Others discovered the Sepik areas and found gold at Maprik and Amanab. The early miners also mined at Kupai on Bougainville near the closed Panguna Mine.

Gold remains an integral part of the cash economy in areas where gold has been traditionally mined. The local landowners are testing their own land and finding new gold anomalies throughout PNG.

today we have more than 50,000 to 60,000 small scale gold miners working at various alluvial gold districts throughout he country using various mining methods.

The most commonly known basic mining methods are sluicing and panning. The miners sometimes use water pump and other motor powered machines in their operation to either go semi-mechanised or fully mechanised.

Abandoned Trommel at Tuguba River Mine Site in Tamo, East Sepik Province

Mechanized Mining Equipment Parked at an alluvial mine site at Tuguba River, Tamo in the East Sepik Province

The this article is an extract from a publication by Department of Mining Papua New Guinea,2001.


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