Friday, May 18, 2012

Boom in PNG mining and petroleum

Papua New Guinea is experiencing an unprecedented period of activity and growth in the mining and petroleum sectors, PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum executive director Greg Anderson said yesterday (Thursday), The National reports.
He highlighted this at the start of a two-day media workshop for journalists and industry public relations professionals at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby.

Participants at the first day of the workshop yesterday.-Nationalpic by MALUM NALU
“We (PNG) have been very blessed and if we can keep up the level of activity (in mining and petroleum), we can develop a number of exciting projects,” Anderson said.

Anderson (left) and workshop facilitator and veteran resource and business journalist Brian Gomez yesterday.
According to an updated industry overview from the chamber, mineral production in 2011 was over 62 tonnes gold, about 90 tonnes silver, and 130, 456 tonnes of copper contained in copper concentrate.
Activity in the petroleum sector is spearheaded by the much-publicised PNG LNG project which has focused international attention on the country.
The PNG LNG has increased the focus on PNG and has attracted international interest, which has contributed to the high level of activity on oil and gas exploration.
There are currently 71 petroleum prospecting licenses (PPLs) and over 15 applications pending, covering large parts of the country.”
PNG ranked as the 11th largest gold producer in the world in 2010.
“PNG has developed two major mining projects in the last two years, the Ramu nickel-cobalt mine in the Madang province which is at commissioning stage; and the Hidden Valley gold-silver mine in the Morobe province, which commenced production in 2011 and is ramping up an average annual production of 250,000 ounces of gold and 3.6 million ounces of gold,” the overview said.
“Over the last two years, there has been considerable capital expansion at the three major mines including, the twin declines at Porgera, now completed; the million ounce production upgrade (MOPU) at Lihir which is in its final stages and expected to come on stream at the end of 2012; and the ongoing technical studies at Ok Tedi to determine the possibility of a combined underground/open cut mine with a reduced throughput (to 60%) to extend mine life from 2015 to 2025.
“A mining lease was granted for the exciting Solwara 1project in January 2011.
“Situated about 30km offshore, west coast central New Ireland province, this will be the first project in the world to mine deep seafloor massive sulphide deposits which are small in size but boast exceptional grade (around 9% copper equivalent), compared to the standard onshore copper-gold mine.”
There are a number of potential mining developments achievable over the next 10 years, central to these being the three world-class copper-gold/copper-molybdenum Frieda (East Sepik), Wafi-Golpu (Morobe) and Yandera (Madang).
Current large mining projects include Barrick Gold’s Porgera gold mine, Ok Tedi copper mine, Newcrest’s Lihir gold mine and MCC’s Ramu nickel-cobalt project.
Three small to medium operations are Petromin’s Tolukuma gold mine, Allied Gold’s Simberi gold mine, and New Guinea Gold’s Sinivit gold mine.
“General exploration activity in the mineral sector is at a high level but administration to tenements has become an issue because the record number of applications and renewals has resulted in a backlog in the Mineral Resources Authority.
“At the end of the first quarter 2012, there were over 282 current exploration licenses and renewals and over 394 outstanding applications spread right across the country.”

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