The National – Monday, February 14, 2011
By RIGGO NANGAN
MINING developer Morobe Mining Joint Ventures (MMJV) has boasted a healthy production turnout of gold and silver since it opened last September.
In the last quarter to last December, MMJV had recorded a quarterly production of 53,168 ounces of gold and 382,654 ounces of silver, which were 23% and 44% respectively from previous quarters.
It also reported a higher feed grades, improved recoveries and reduced cash costs in line with expectations as its processing plant ramped up to design capacity.
These were coupled with its top safety performance during the quarter and also the testimony of the efforts put in by its staff.
MMJV, a 50-50 joint venture between Harmony Gold Ltd of South Africa, which is said to be the fifth largest gold miner in the world, and Newcrest Mining Ltd of Australia, found its place in Morobe with a mission to discover, develop and operate gold mining and establish long-term business benefits for all stakeholders.
It has three joint ventures in the province which are the Hidden Valley operations in Wau and Wafi-Golpu in Mumeng and an exploration joint venture.
Its plant of world class infrastructure includes a 4.5km overhead conveyor which connects its Hamata plant site to the main processing plant in Hidden Valley.
The conveyor structure is said to be the only one of its kind in the country.
Its processsing plant treats 4.6 million tonnes of ore on average every year of which, 250,000 and 4 million ounces of gold and silver are extracted.
Based on these reserves, the company is anticipating an output of 3.7 and 64 million ounces of gold and silver respectively, in a 14-year life span.
A potential extension of the mine based on the existing resources should net 5.6 and 102 million ounces of gold and silver respectively.
MMJV has a well-maintained safety standard which saw a reduction in injuries from almost 4.5% to 1.5% from Dec 2009 to last November while the occupational health and safety standard is of priority to the company.
General manager Mark Mitchell told reporters in Hidden Valley last Saturday that the controversial issue of sedimentation had the company going another mile to put a stop to it.
Mitchell said his company had spent more than K100 million to build a large waste storage tailings facility to contain mining residues from spilling into the Watut river.
The tailings facility, in a form of a large lake, has a pump station stored in it which pumps water back into the reservoir where it is treated and used again in the plant process.
The residues are hold in the bottom of the lake.
Environment manager Basil Bulkua said the company uses 100% of waste rock from the mine pits to construct the tailings facility.
He said revegetation was another measures taken to control soil erosion within the mine site.
He added that the company had an on-going impact study programme and comprehensive monitoring with a regular community and government consultation and engagement.
Bulkua said comprehensive surface water management and rehabilitation programmes were also in place.