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Post  Nuggerty on Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:38 pm

This is one of those, if only I had........stories that I though I would share.

Many years ago I worked on Misima Island in the Louisdale Archipelago off the southeast coast of PNG. At the time Placer Pacific were in the second year of production at the Misima Gold Mine. The mine was a large open cut operation in an area which had been mined between the World Wars. There were relics of both mining and WW2 all over the island. One feature which caught my eye was a tunnel high up in the haul road cut, and the corresponding tunnel on the other side. There was also an old narrow gauge rail tunnel cut through solid rock with nothing but picks as evidenced by thousands of tool marks. It really stood out that this was a very hard place to be and work in the 1920's.

Anyway my job at the time was to build small water supplies for remote villages whose creeks had been effected by the mine operations. Basically we built small weirs across designated creeks which flowed all through gold bearing country. Each site was selected based on an exposed bedrock area running across the creek which we keyed the weir base into. The Misima folk spent two or three weeks carting cement and gravel up to the site before work commenced.

A large portable pump was used to lower the water level so the bedrock was exposed for the placement of form work and concrete which was hand mixed on site. Large plastic pipes were placed in the foundation which could be capped off for filling after further levels were placed on top. Calcium chloride was mixed with the concrete to speed things up, and the concrete was placed.

We built four water supplies across these (probably) very rich creeks, exposing bedrock...but not once did my young mind wonder about having a scratch around in a crevice or two. I remember building a stilling basin in a basalt rock and pointing out the fools gold to one of the Misiman workers, which (based on the colour) was probably actual gold. He told me about a spot in a nearby creek where the gold was like little bundles of wire ready to just pick up.

My time on Misima drew to a close without any fossicking as I had no interest, or understanding of the opportunity that I had. The mine is now long gone, and from what I read the only thing left is the bitterness of the locals who have lost income and opportunity.

Nuggerty
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Post  hugh62 on Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:45 pm

That would of been a interesting time m8 ,although I cant help feeling for the poor locals ,the mainland ones in particular ,who got ripped off big time by western country's ,and still are . do many of the islander's fossick / prospect at all ?
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Post  moredeep on Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:36 pm

I bet you have bad dreams about chunky gold lying in these streams?

cheers moredeep
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Post  Nuggerty on Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:16 am

hugh62 wrote:That would of been a interesting time m8 ,although I cant help feeling for the poor locals ,the mainland ones in particular ,who got ripped off big time by western country's ,and still are . do many of the islander's fossick / prospect at all ?

I don't know if the Nationals fossick on Misima. I did watch a documentary dealing with the gold mine at Poggera in the PNG highlands. Some locals were working the mine (operational) tailings using mercury to process the fine gold dust. The handling and burning of the mercury was poisoning these people.

Obviously there would a bias in documentary one way or another as to why these people were living the way they are- but I believe that the mining company/ PNG government is equally to blame for the predicament of these people. Once you move out of the cities in PNG (places like Pogera and Misima) there is almost no sign of government and people live in communities with combination of traditional and western rules.

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