Mining in Morobe, Papua New Guinea - impacts, assurance and self-determination

Mudd, G and Roche, C 2014, 'Mining in Morobe, Papua New Guinea - impacts, assurance and self-determination', in Proceedings of the Life-of-Mine 2014 Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 16-18 July 2014, pp. 313-335.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Mining in Morobe, Papua New Guinea - impacts, assurance and self-determination
Author(s) Mudd, G
Roche, C
Year 2014
Conference name Life-of-Mine 2014
Conference location Brisbane, Australia
Conference dates 16-18 July 2014
Proceedings title Proceedings of the Life-of-Mine 2014 Conference
Publisher Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Place of publication Brisbane, Australia
Start page 313
End page 335
Total pages 23
Abstract The Morobe Province of central Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been mined for gold for nearly a century, although it is only in the past decade that large-scale modern mining commenced. The Hidden Valley gold-silver project began construction in mid-2006 and production by August 2009, and is located in the mountains above Wau in the headwaters of the Watut River. The mine is owned and operated by the Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV), which also owns the Wafi-Golpu project, comprimising the Wafi gold despoit and Golpu copper-gold deposit, situated in the Watut River Valley. Together they represent a potential mine of the scale of Ok Tedi or Bougainville or bigger. The MMJV is owned in equal shares by Newcrest Mining from Australia and Harmony Gold from South Africa. Although Hidden Valley was the first large-scale mine in PNG to engineer and build a tailings storage facility, poor environmental management during construction and early operations led to significant erosion of waste rock and sedimentation impacts throughout the ~200 km length of the Watut River. Since then, substantial efforts have been made to improve environmental management, especially waste rock placement and storage and water quality management. While the impacts from the Hidden Valley project appear to be reducing, the saga has heightened concerns by many along the Watut River and across PNG about ongoing impacts from mining. This paper presents the results of an ongoing project in the Morobe Province conducted by the Mineral Policy Institute examining the historical, current and future impacts of mining, including community views, social and environmental impacts and the monitoring and regulation of mining. Overall, there is a clear need to more fully integrate social and environmental issues into life-of-mine planning and go above and beyond regulatory requirements. In this way, some of the lessons learnt – by the community, MMJV and government – can be incorporated before, during and long after mining.
Subjects Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy not elsewhere classified
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