Geology students visit exploration sites

Normal, Weekender

The National, Friday, May 13, 2011

By KAIRU LAHO,  UPNG Public Relations
A FIELD trip at any level of education is always an exciting time as it exposes the student to the outside world and opens another dimension of their learning experience.
Such was the case for 28 final year geology students of the University of Papua New Guinea who last month landed in the historical townships of Wau and Bulolo on a week-long field trip funded by Morobe Mining Exploration Joint Venture (MMEJV).
The field trip provided an excellent opportunity for the students and four staff to visit alluvial gold fields, Wau gold deposits, Hidden Valley-Hamata open-pit mine and mill operations, the Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project and other regional prospects.
It was made even more interesting when the group came across mud flows on their return to Wau from the Hidden Valley operation on Day 6, forcing them to divert to Lae City to overnight.
On their return the next day, the students took time out at Mumeng where the mud flows occurred to study the rock types, regional geology and extent of the mud flows.
The field trip was a commitment made by MMEJV, one of three joint ventures in the Hidden Valley-Hamata operations, at the Geology students’ corporate dinner last year.
On Saturday,  April 9, the students boarded a MMEJV-chartered Airlines PNG Dash 8 and set off for Bulolo.
According to Dr Joseph Espi, divisional head of earth sciences, this was the first field trip outside Port Moresby again by final year geology students after the last trips were taken 15 years ago.
The field trips in 1995 saw the students travel to Porgera and Ok Tedi mines, and to Western Highlands, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands provinces.
On this trip, the team was led by Dr Espi, who is also the course coordinator for Mineral Deposits and Geochemistry, which the trip was focused on.
He said it was the first by any company in the mining or petroleum industry in the country to charter a plane to transport students on such a field trip.
“The field trip has reaped positive comments from other executives of Hidden Valley Joint Venture, MMEJV and MMJV, and there may be similar opportunities for other undergraduate programs such as chemistry, environmental science and business in the near future,” he said.
Dr Espi said the students were privileged to have some of PNG’s most experienced geologists in the likes of MMEJV general manager Bernard Kavanamur, principal geologist Robin Philip, district geologist Conrad Palaulo, Senior Geologist Yawas Dekba and Contract Senior Geologist Robert Sumaiang organise and facilitate their trip.
“In sponsoring, organising and facilitating the Wau-Bulolo trip emphasised the importance of field trips and in the training of undergraduate students in field geology methods, techniques and knowledge, including understanding the economic, social, cultural and environmental effects of historical and current mineral exploration and mining activities,” Dr Espi said.
Dr Espi thanked Mr Kavanamur and his management and staff for a well-organised and successful trip.