Mining & Exploration Bulletin 2016

Mining & Exploration Bulletin 2016

The Mining and Exploration Bulletin is an official publication the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) of Papua New Guinea.

The Bulletin is a bi-annual publication that is intended to give information the performance and development of mineral exploration and mining projects in the country.

It also contains updates on government policies and activities relating to the sector.


2016 mining activities in terms of production to date are showing improvement compared to 2014 & 2015, despite the continued closure of Ok Tedi until March, and a 10 week closure of the Basamuk nickel and cobalt refinery. Whilst the lower mineral commodity prices for copper and nickel continue to impact on the country’s export revenue, gold and silver have reached recent record prices as a result of world geo-political and economic uncertainty.

Gold remains our key mineral, contributing 75% of our export mineral revenue. Production at the Lihir mine in New Ireland province is expected to exceed 900,000 ounces of gold in 2016 and will be within the top 5 globally for both reserves and production. New or re-opened mines to come on stream over the next 12 months include Crater Mountain, Kainantu and Tolukuma, which combined could contribute another 130,000 ounces of gold annually

Data from our Flexicadastre tenement management system indicates a levelling off in exploration tenement applications, but an increase in mining tenements aided by the lodgement of the SML and other associated tenements for the Frieda River gold and copper project.

The MRA is committed to facilitate the regulatory approvals being sought for the Frieda project and has commenced this process within government and with the project stakeholders.

The MRA through its geological survey division continues to make available new geological information through its numerous field mapping exercises covering parts of Oro, East & West Sepik, Central and Morobe provinces. The exciting discoveries of coal in the East and West Sepik provinces will open up opportunities for companies to apply for exploration licenses over these coal areas. In addition, we are continuing work on our regional geochemical studies covering the New Guinea Irelands region. The studies will produce baseline mineral occurrences data for potential explorers.

Despite the trying times in exploration, a good number of tenement holders have uncovered exciting discoveries. Harmony Gold Ltd’s Kili Teke prospect in the Hela province, produced excellent results from its maiden drilling program in 2015, and early results from their 2016 drill programs continue to be encouraging. Highlands Pacific and Anglo American, who are drilling the star mountains area, in the West Sepik province, also registered exciting drill results. Similarly, Ok Tedi Mining Limited at its Townsville prospect, adjoining the current mine tenement. Each is displaying characteristics of large porphyry systems. Diversified exploration company, Mayur Resources Ltd have completed pre-feasibility studies of their Orokolo Bay iron sands project and are now embarking on their definitive feasibility studies. Katana Limited is ready to lodge its mining lease application for its iron sands resource and two significant proven nickel resources in Oro province are under retention awaiting the recovery of the nickel price.

In summary, business in the minerals sector is slow, but still attractive for those still exploring and mining, and for new investors. There is still more to be discovered in this country if one is prepared to invest in the mineral prospect of PNG.

Enjoy the publication and trust that you will find the information useful for your purposes…

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