By MALUM NALU
PNG Forest Products originally evolved from Bulolo Gold Dredging (BGD) Ltd, a mining company that commenced mining operations in Bulolo in 1932, according to company archives.
BGD was owned by Placer and it operated seven dredges in what was then the world’s largest gold field.
These dredges were powered by hydro power stations that remain vital to the area’s industrial activities to this day.
In the late 1930s, there were three hydro power stations operating in the Bulolo area with an installed capacity of 7.9MW.
Peak load on the system was 5.4MW:
· Pine Tops 2.4MW (Was not rebuilt after World War 11);
· Lower Baiune 3.5MW (still operating today); and
· Upper Baiune 2.0MW (still operating today).
The original power station was located at Pine Tops.
|Original power station located at Pine Tops. The station had four 600KW generators and used 8.5m3 of water per second at full load, with an effective head of 30.5m. It was not rebuilt after World War 11.|
The station had four 600KW generators and used 8.5m3 of water per second at full load, with an effective head of 30.5m.
It was not rebuilt after World War 11.
“All the gold dredges were driven by electric motors and as more dredges were added, firstly the Lower Baiune, and then the Upper Baiune hydro- power stations were built,” according to the company’s website.
|One of the iconic Bulolo dredges during Morobe gold rush days.-Pictures courtesy of PNGFP|
“These power stations were sabotaged in 1942, as part of the Australian army's Scorched Earth policy.
“Consequently, extensive rehabilitation work was required after the end of WWII.
“The electrical plant to rebuild the power stations was manufactured in 1944, and commissioned in 1946-1947.
“However, a fire in 1984 totally destroyed the Upper Baiune power station and it was rebuilt in 1985.”
The Baiune hydro-electric power stations supply all the electricity consumed in the Wau and Bulolo areas.
Although the technology used is old, the equipment was manufactured to an extremely high standard, and as a result the Lower Baiune station has operated continuously since 1947.