By PATRICK TALU
FOR the first time in the history of Papua New Guinea's mining industry's waste management, state owned Petromin's Tolukuma gold mine will now turn its tailings into profits after a feasibility assessment was done for a state-of-the-art mine waste processing, The National reports.
The feasibility study will be undertaken by Everest Remediation Ltd of Australia with an investment of US$1.5 million over a six-month period.
To effect the assessment, Mining Minister John Pundari, Petromin managing director Joshua Kalinoe and Everest chief executive Patrick Salera penned the agreement last Friday at Petromin Haus witnessed by Petromin board chairman Sumasi Singin and staff.
Pundari described the study as a "milestone achievement for Tolukuma after the Solwara-1 project and a new frontier for PNG".
"After all, doing business is taking risks," he said.
"We must venture into unknown frontiers."
Pundari said Everest had been with Tolukuma for some time with a focus on extraction of trace elements of metal from the waste.
"Mine waste is a significant issue with respect to environment.
"In fact, the study will focus essentially on the capacity of extract metals from the waste at the mine site," he added.
He said the feasibility study would, as a first step, assess the commercial benefits derived from treating waste.
Pundari said the process could be applied to all mining projects in PNG and Petromin and PRL would in due course, assess the commercial viability at treating at mines throughout the nation.
The minister indicated that importantly a successful outcome from the study would not only enhance environmental outcomes at the mine but also lead to the creation of new employment opportunities and new revenue for Tolukuma.
Kalinoe said Petromin was proud to be part of the venture which might create significant employment, revenues and improved environmental outcomes throughout the mining sector.
He said the objective of the study was to apply state-of-the-art technology to wastes at Tolukuma with a view to producing a refined waste product which contained no elements that were harmful to the environment.