Youths undergo health, business and safety training


TWENTY-EIGHT young people from Bulolo, Morobe, recently completed a level-one training course at the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) Small-Scale Mining Training Centre in Wau.
The centre’s officer-in-charge, Matthew Dalga, said participants were taught core modules on gender and HIV/AIDS, business, safety, environment, welfare and other safe mining operational methods.
He said in terms of safety, participants were taught how to use mercury safely during gold recovery, which was an important subject covered at the centre because mercury was commonly used in an unsafe way as a gold recovery method.
“This is a huge problem in the sector, where miners are exposing them to health risks,” Dalga said.
According to the World Health Organisation, inhalation of mercury vapour, if used in an unsafe way, could produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, among other health issues.
“That is why the MRA has seen the need to train our miners on how to use mercury safely so that they continue mining and sustain themselves,” said MRA managing director Jerry Garry.
“We are obliged to deliver this service to our miners.”
In terms of business, the participants were taken through basic bookkeeping and accounting. “In PNG, we make money and spend it overnight. When tomorrow comes, we look for money. We cannot continue to operate like that.”
Garry said MRA wanted to encourage a savings culture within PNG’s alluvial mining communities so families could diversify into other small-to-medium enterprises using money from alluvial mining.

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