Thursday, August 5, 2021
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Much of the tertiary and recent history of PNG is linked to multiple terrane collisions as the Australia Plate moved northwards. These terranes may be autochthonous or allochthonous; in many instances this is not obvious. What is clear is that PNG is a very prospective region to explore for a number of mineralization styles, including epithermal and porphyry-related high and low-sulfidation systems, skarns, volcanic massive sulfides, exhalative manganese deposits, lateritic nickel-chromite-cobalt and sea floor massive sulfides.

Economic Geology

Upthrust by the relatively recent collision between the Australian and Pacific plates, Papua Guinea’s mountains contain mineral-rich volcanic rocks, intrusive rocks and ultramafic rocks. Most of the igneous systems are now largely fossilised, but several systems, particularly on the north of mainland PNG and the islands, are still currently active.

The mineralised regions are dominated by copper and gold, but they also have other commodities of significance to the global economy, such as nickel, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, iron and platinum. Within the intrusive centres and volcanic edifices are porphyry copper-gold ores and epithermal deposits of gold and silver, on which are based several globally important mines.

Current mines in Papua New Guinea are not isolated to specific geological terranes or elements.

The mines are spread over different element, further indicating the prospectivity of the terranes and elements. Of the eight operating mines, one in Ramu on the New Guinea thrust belt produce nickel, cobolt and chromium. Read more

Mining History

For thousands of years the indegenous people of Papua New guinea have mined and traded stone implements and ochre, and used clay to make pottery. Gold was first discovered in Papua New Guinea in 1852 as accidental traces in pottery from Redscar Bay on the Papua Peninsula. Read more

Geological Survey

MRA is continuously working to improve the quality and coverage of geo-scientific data in PNG. It is doing so using its own resources, and also in cooperating with international partners. For more information with regards to the geological survey activities click here

Small - Scale Mining

A relatively untapped industry with huge potential at the local level of businesses is small scale mining, with approximately 95,000 ounces of gold exported in 2012. Between 60,000 and 80,000 small scale miners, earn a living out of alluvial mining by commonly using non-mechanical methods thereby making a contribution to Papua New Guinea’s total production of 1.9 million ounces of gold in 2012.

Mineral Resources Authority’s Wau Small Scale Mining Training School in Wau, Morobe Province, has more than 200 students graduating each session. The school trains artisanal miners on simple geology, mining techniques, occupational health and safety, including the proper use of mercury, and business skills in business management and book keeping.