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March 1, 2021
Business News

The Trials And Tribulations Of Small Scale Mining

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By Hope Imaka – EMTV Online

For any business in its infant stage, it is fairly difficult to start up and gain momentum in its operations.

The simple task of generating revenue and making a profit now seems to be a mammoth task. Leading with the theme “Trials and Tribulations”, Ivan Mori, General Manager of Crater Gold Mining Operations, spoke at the Mining and Petroleum Conference on November 26.

Here are the main key points from his address on the operations of Crater Gold Mine:

Logistical 

The principal difficulty faced by the Crater Gold Mine is the location of the mine itself.

The absence of access roads and difficult terrain has constrained the operations to have its operations 100 per cent helicopter supported.

Its operations alone are very expensive; hence the decision on the method of operations to ease supply constraints.

Technical

Mining method – why hand held, non-mechanised mining?

Firstly, the paramount reason for Crater Mining to choose their method of operation is the logistics.

General Manager, Ivan Mori, states that to airlift all necessary equipment and supply to the site would be strenuous on their financial capacity.

Secondly, the low mining rates and low tonnes assure higher gold grade output.

The aim, according to Mori, is to remain competitive and profitable.

Financial

  • Delays in raising the needed funds to start – who wants to put money in on a tiny operation when gold pricea were declining.
  • Cash flow management – we simply cannot spend money on everything we needed.

Social

The expectations of people are elements yet to be settled. Crater Gold Mine has entered into discussions with landowners and surrounding communities, however the small-scale capacity of the operations makes it rather difficult to satisfy all expectations.

Mori identified the following difficulties:

  • Landowners expectations
  • Employment for locals – not everyone can be employed
  • MOA and benefits – difficult to navigate process when LO executives are scattered

Further challenges are faced when handling regulatory compliance work.

Apart from producing the Gold, the main goal for crater mining, is to set the example for more small-scale hard rock mining projects around PNG. 

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