Impacts of Mining Developments in Papua-New Guinea

Papua New Guiana (PANG) is well endowed with minerals, whilst offering one the most biologically diverse habitats and the third largest copper and gold reserves n the world, which has made it become a magnet for large multinational corporations (Mocking, 2002). The development of Pens natural resources has seen a transformation impact to its economic growth, however this has come at a significant cost to its environment and local mining communities. This paper discusses mining operations within PANG, whilst investigating the role of Gold and Copper and it’s uses in technology.

Next we look at the evaluation of mining operations from a mining organizations perspective, assess the adverse impacts of mining operations on the environment, examine the social implications and challenges of mining placements, and lastly we highlight some of the possible mitigation strategies to common mining issues. 2. 0 Background Papua New Guiana is a biologically diverse habitat that is endowed with plenty of natural resources, especially gold and copper. Mining in Papua New Guiana (PANG) is one of the predominant activities that have significantly contributed to the economic development through the export of its natural resources.

Two of the major mining sites in which these resources are found are at “k Tied Mine” and “Lira Gold Mine”, with the former carrying on with both gold and copper mining and the latter known o be an excellent resource for gold. Due to its scarcity and beauty gold is an element, which is both a valuable commodity and investment vehicle throughout the history of humans. Moreover, gold is used in a wide range of technologies such as telecommunications, wiring, connectors, circuit boards, architectural glass and fuel cells, which can be attributed to its unique and resistant corrosion (Marabou, 2012).

It is also highly ductile and malleable thus gold bullion by the central banks have increased, thereby reinforcing the role of gold as a significant reserve asset (Dully, 2007). Additionally, the Jewelry sector has seen a steady rise with demand increasing by as much as 7%, with India and China leading the demand for gold as it is viewed not Just as a commodity but also a vital component of their cultural religious traditions (Dully, 2007).

Copper on the other hand is also a valuable metal as it can acquire new characteristics when alloyed with other metals such as aluminum or tin (to form bronze), zinc (to form brass) or nickel for use in highly specialized applications. Its properties allow it to be bent, molded and shaped into various forms and applied in variety of technological applications (transformers, power cables, personal computers and mobile phones), construction (taps, valves, roofing, doors and frames), transportation, machinery and equipment.

Additionally, copper is one of the most recycled metals making it a highly sustainable choice. The global demand for copper continues to grow from emerging economies including China, Japan and India. These countries are rapidly urbanize by developing infrastructure and upgrading power grids as well as building homes, appliances and automobiles. According to Stiffer (201 1), the worlds refined usage has surged 300 recent, which can be attributed to the metals extensive functionalities and benefits. 3. 0 Mating View of PANG Over the last 10 years mining in PANG has continued to impact the economy.

Investment trends in minerals continue to grow, with gold and copper accounting for 70% of its export revenue and 20% of its fiscal budget (Ballard & Banks, 2003). Additionally, the emergent of mining prospecting and explorations has contributed immensely to the countries employment, through the construction and building sector, transport sector and supported a wide range trade industries in the country in one way or another (Ballard & Banks, 2003). However, one growing concern within the mining sector has been in regards to the fair distribution of mining revenue among customary landowners and communities.

According to Imbue (2006), project developers in mining operations have traditionally been concerned about how the mining revenue should directly benefit local communities in mining areas. It has also expressed concerns for communities to have an equal right and say in the operations of mining in their region. Mining corporations have recognized the need to address underdevelopment in isolated communities through support to social projects and infrastructure placement as a means both of raising living standards and of ensuring social stability in mining areas (Sunrise et al. 010). For its part, the PANG Government has essentially sought to manage tensions between local communities and state and national interests by conceding a bigger proportion of its mineral revenues to the provincial governments and landowning communities who host the resource projects secure these projects against the threat of disruption or closure, the result can be a grossly inequitable distribution of benefits and revenues to landowners and local communities (Sunrise et al. 2010). 4.

Environmental Degradation with a Political Insight The regulation of environmental factors on mining operations in PANG has been has been extensively questioned in the literature. Evidently there are a number of widespread environmental problems contributed by mining industries ranging from waste management issues to impacts on biodiversity and habitat, and consequently disrupt the economic and cultural lives of local communities (McKinney, 2002). By nature, mining involves the production of large quantities of waste, which pose significant threats to the aquatic ecosystems and receiving water bodies thus effecting water quality.

Exacerbating these effects on water quality are the impacts of acid drainage from metal disposition and sedimentation through erosion of waste rock piles. According to Ripley (1996), high sediment loads can smother bethink organisms in streams and oceans thus eliminating important food sources for predators and decreasing available habitat for fish to migrate and spawn, which ultimately affects local communities who sustain a living from fisheries Monsoons, 1997).

The responsibility of environmental protection and control lies with the state overspent, who in which need to be facilitating effective public policies and standards, and further implementing adequate monitoring and evaluation systems to protect its environment from mining and safeguard local communities livelihood. However Filer et al. 000, argues that despite Pangs established environmental legislation, there has been significant difficulty for the government to effectively enforce and monitor the performance of mining companies due to financial constraints, sufficient manpower and conflicts of interest between the states role as a developer and protector of the environment. In addition, there is also the added difficulty of political fragmentation involving thousands of traditional communities, only of which a handful are represented in the PANG parliament (Filer et al, 2000).

Arguably, this has lead governments to rely heavily upon the mining companies resources to carry out their own environmental reports rather than conducting periodic site visits to determine whether compliance is being carried out. Although, since the inception of the Mine Monitoring Unit in 2000 from the Department of Environment and Conservation, which is funded by all mining companies who operate in PANG and as such, carry out audits on their environmental protection and mitigation programs (Crispin, 2003).

This has markedly improved with developments in monitoring of mine sites and better regulatory oversight, and enforcement of mining companies to comply with the countries environmental expectations. Furthermore, governments at the local level are now facilitating better capacity engage in negotiations with mining companies as to ensure that their needs and interests are complied with respects to environmental protection (Crispin, 2003). 5. 0 Social Impacts and Disintegration

In addition to the environmental issues, mining also presents complex social issues, given the potential disruptions to local communities. A requirement of mining is that it needs to have access to land and natural resources (e. G. Water) and may compete indirectly with other land uses (Fallen, 2002). This has caused for some people/ communities in having to relocate and thus be alienated from their land, which can have detrimental social effects, as landownership and unencumbered access to it are fundamental components of clan identity (Irreparable, 1996).

Moreover, relocation an also add further pressure on surrounding ecosystems. According to Miranda et al. 2003, upland ecosystems around the “K Ted'” mine are now under significant pressure as a result of migration of small-scale farmers. In the past, conflicts of interest have emerged between mining industries and land usage, which have resulted in communities such as the Peruvian of Tambourine to reject mining in their area due to fear of potential impacts on the communities traditional livelihood and displacement of residents.

In addition, there is also added concern about villagers seeking Jobs within mines and neglecting traditional immunities for short-term gains. According to a study commissioned by the mining industry, displacement may result in serious social problems, including food security, normalization, loss of access to public services and common resources, and social breakdown (Downing, 2002).

Although the opening of new mine sites may provide opportunities for employment, this can however present issues in terms of attracting outsiders into the area to compete for work and thereby cause social distress leading to problems of conflict. To some extent landowners may even exercise their right to exclude “Trespassers” ND claim priority over the mining Jobs available. Another implication of mining is the occupation of land, which can potentially compromise a community to farm, garden or hunt to a level required to sustain a living.

While the supply of an alternate food supply may be a viable option to overcome the immediate problem, the supermarket / cash economy may have significant long-term social implications manifested by a loss of skills or reluctance to return to the previous sustenance (Murray et al. 2003). 6. 0 Conclusion Gold and Copper are two precious metals contributing to 20% of Pang’s total gross mommies product (GAP) and are used in a variety of mechanical, technological and constructional applications with a continuing increase in global demand. F PANG and comes with its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. Although mining is known to provide economic development through mining taxes, royalties, direct revenues, investments in infrastructure and services, it is also known to present many social implications and cause disintegration and adverse impacts to the environment thus raising several contentions and protests in Papua New Guiana.

Through the implementation of strong regulatory frameworks and policies, and effective monitoring and evaluation systems of mining operations, this will ensure the facilitation of better management towards Pang’s natural resources, waste disposal and community engagement practices between governments and mining industries. 7. 0 Recommendations Environmental Disaster Management Fund All mining companies, which operate in PANG, should contribute to a fund annually, so that in the event of environmental disaster, the fund may be used to help clean up, rehabilitate and restore the environment.

Cultural Heritage Workshops Mining companies to facilitate cultural heritage management workshops for mining immunities so that they can be transparent with their corporate commitments and address any of the communities concerns and issues. Reformed policies and regulations In order to prevent the growing concerns in mineral resource developments, government must have in place proper laws, policies and regulations in order to – 1) maximize government revenue, 2) encourage investment, 3) enforce monitoring and evaluation of mining operations and 4) control and protect from environmental and social impacts.

Leave a Reply