Hidden Valley gold mine project in Wau, Morobe province, is placing a lot of emphasis on hiring of local people.
Human resource manager Michael Lankester said last Saturday (October 4) that Morobe Mining Joint Ventures planned over the long term to have the project totally run by the landowners.
This is already obvious in operation of heavy equipment on site, which is totally done by landowner employees, including women.
Landowners are represented by the landowner NAKUWI Association, which represents Nauti, Kwembu and Winima villages.
“Our overall aim is to start the project with local people,” Mr Lankester said.
“Our long-term aim is to have it totally run by local people.
“Obviously, we can’t do that straight away, because there aren’t enough people trained in mining in the local area.
“What we’re doing is we’re hiring experienced people from existing mines within PNG with the view that these people will train locals over time.
“We are hiring a lot of locals at the moment as trainees, especially in the mining area.
“All our mining equipment now is run by locals from the Wau/Bulolo areas.
“The way we train these people is we have a simulator.
“This is our initial training medium for our operators.
“They will come in and we put them through a simulator.
“Once we’re happy with that, we let them operate the equipment with an operator sitting beside them and, over time, operate solo.
“We currently have 127 local operators, 11 of whom are females.
“It’s not only the trucks; they also operate the PC2000 excavators, graders, and the whole range of equipment.
“At this stage, we’ve probably got another 20-30 to hire.
“In full operation, we’d like to see our workforce comprise of 75% of locals from the Wau/Bulolo area.
“We probably will have about 650 in full production, and about 350 contractors.
“In terms of our employment interaction with the landowners, we work closely with NAKUWI Association.”