Alluvial Gold Miners Raise concerns on PNG Government's Move to build Gold Refinery

 ALLUVIAL miners in Papua New Guinea currently sell their gold to unscrupulous buyers for as low as 30 per cent of its real value, and this, among other issues that must be addressed, an official says.

Sustainable Alluvial Mining Services (Sams) founder Immaculate Javia said the PNG Government needed to formalise and properly regulate alluvial mining industry before talking about establishing a gold refinery in the country.

Alluvial Gold Miners Raise concerns on PNG Government Move to build Gold Refinery . Photo by PNG MRA

Javia said the Government needed to consult all stakeholders on the proposed project.

“In the wake of a biased gold deal forced upon Papua New Guineans to exploit their resources, hundreds of thousands of alluvial miners around the country, who will either be victims or beneficiaries of this deal face another grim reality of ignorance, misrepresentation, and forced decision from a Government who, is expected to fairly represent them,” she said.

Javia said the alluvial mining industry had existed in PNG for over a century since the day gold was first discovered on Sudest Island, Milne Bay, in 1888.

“It is almost 132 years of the existence of alluvial mining activities in this country, yet the plight of struggling mining families and communities who encounter so much financial, technical and social stress to ensure a gramme of gold reaches the refineries, has been overlooked,” she said.

“The fact that no proper consultation with local mining communities throughout the country to establish an understanding, seek informed consent and input around the gold refinery plan seems a biased and rushed decision by few individuals whose interests are not representative of the sector and people who not only work in difficult and dangerous sites and conditions to produce gold, but who have been neglected by many successive governments in meeting their financial and technical needs despite their direct input to strengthening rural economies and generating income for the Government.”

Javia said a consultation process would help identify the issues faced by the sector that was hindering its progress.

“The alluvial mining sector is not only about gold and refineries, there are other more significant issues to be addressed and the Prime Minister should be seeking appropriate advice to develop a plan that addresses many of these issues whilst looking at the economic aspect of the sector,” she said.

“Currently, often the small miner sells his gold to unscrupulous buyers for as low as 30 per cent of its real value.

“The buyer then sells to another buyer who pays well under market price and then finally the gold is sold to existing foreign buyers who pay usually about 80 per cent of the true value of the gold.

“The reality here is, at the end of the day, no one really gets a fair price for their gold.

“Particularly, the miner or the low end buyer.”

The National / Pacific Mining Watch 

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