Garry: Gold production stagnant

Business
Mining Minister Johnson Tuke (left) and Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu visiting the Yamo alluvial mining booth, a Wau-based company, during the conference on Tuesday.

By GLORIA BAUAI
GOLD production in the alluvial mining sector has remained stagnant in the past 13 years, despite an increase in export and revenue, an official says.
Mineral Resource Authority managing director Jerry Garry said exports revenue had grown from K100 million to about K600 million annually in 2019 and 2020.
But he said production remained at around 100,000.

Golden Valley Enterprise managing director Luke von Boehm (right) explaining to University of Technology students the services they provide to alluvial miners.

Gary said gold production could increase if mechanised mining activities such as the use of excavators, trammel and other mechanised processing facilities were tapped into.
He said unfortunately, the alluvial sector had not ventured into specialised mechanised processing facilities because financial institutions were reluctant to support because of the high investment risks involved.

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke viewing gold samples at the Golden Valley Enterprise’s booth during the alluvial mining conference at the University of Technology in Lae.

Gary said compared to hard rock mining, where the distribution of metals gold or copper could be determined with a certain degree of confidence, deposits in alluvial mining could not.
“There is no uniformity in the distribution of alluvial gold in any alluvial deposit,” he said.
“So you cannot be sure exactly to ascertain the volume of sediment to come up with how much gold is in that deposit.”

Employees of the Golden Valley Enterprise, a gold-buying company based in Morobe.

Gary said the alluvial mining conference in Lae would see discussions to address this.
“Once we get some understanding and if we can minimise the risk, then financial institutions will be comfortable in investing,” Gary said.