Woman mines gold to support family

The National, Tuesday July 12th, 2016

PANGUNA landowner, Nancy George, 23, has been involved in alluvial gold mining to help support her family.
She lives on the outskirts of the Panguna Mine in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB).
Panguna was once a large open pit mine located in the Central Bougainville that produced copper from 1972 until 1989, when operations were suspended.
Bougainville Copper Limited had operated the mine.
Panguna was one of the largest copper reserves in Papua New Guinea and in the world having estimated reserves of one billion tonnes of ore grading 0.34 per cent copper and 12 million ounces of gold.
The mine is a no-go zone in Central Bougainville where the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) still has total control of the area.
George was born four years after the mining activities on the Panguna mine came to complete stop on May 15, 1989.
Fighting off her emotions of her daily struggle in search for gold, she told The National that she had to work to support her immediate family.
She proudly displayed the lump of rock where shinning particles of gold were visible.
She said she makes more than K2000 on alluvial mining just to feed her family and travel out to Arawa town or Buka for shopping.
George said she has no hope for the developers to return as they have yet to settle their outstanding issues with the landowners.
She said there was plenty of gold around on the side of the mountain including the ore that was dug out before the crisis began and left idle at the mine site. She added that the alluvial mining has been part of life since the close of the mine 27 years ago.