By Vasinatta Yama – EMTV News, Mt Hagen
A small-scale miner and local businessman, Joe Tomerop says Papua New Guinea will have a bright future if the government sees the importance of alluvial mining.
Tomerop, who has been in the business for five years, says small-scale mining can rescue a country’s economy and foreign exchange.
However, Tomerop says he still needs a license to operate as a first time local investor in this sector.
Tomerop is building his own machines and plant to fulfill the Mineral Resource Authority’s requirement for investors to have their own equipment before applying for a license.
So far, he has spent over K800, 000 to locally build his own plant, as well as trying to acquire a license from the Mineral Resources Authority.
Tomerop’s village in the Kompiam electorate in Enga Province is situated on the beltline of resources such as gold and copper.
He says he wants to be one of the first Papua New Guineans to own a small scale mine, instead of working for expatriates.
Joe Tomerop has been in business for over 30 years and has only just started investing in small-scale alluvial mining.
In 2016, EMTV’s Resource PNG Program featured a story about an alluvial mining conference and trade show hosted by the Mineral Resource Authority in Goroka.
The theme was “Mechanised Alluvial Mining” from which Tomerop also attended.
Tomerop was not pleased that MRA did not tradeshow any mechanized equipment to small-scale miners to learn from. This has forced him to build his own equipment to be able to get a license.
A landowner group from Tomerop’s village has always wanted to mine gold illegally, but they said alluvial mining has the potential to bring in millions of kina.
They are urging MRA to be fair in issuing licenses to expatriates as well as the locals.