One of Papua New Guinea's least known, but most profitable industries is the mining of gold.
One of Papua New Guinea's least known, but most profitable industries is the mining of gold. Here at Bulolo south of Lae, the New Guinea Gold Company extracts gold from are by the sluicing method. The tailings from old are washed down a wooden sluice by a high-pressure water hose.
The channel is corrugated with wooden battons. The heavier, gold-bearing deposits, fall to the bottom of the sluice and are held back by the corrugationa.
Last year Papua New Guinea produced over sixty million dollars-worth of gold, However, the lion's-share of this came from the Panguna mine of Bougainville Copper Limited - they produced almost 550,000 fine ounces compared with just 20,000 ounces from all other sources.
Gold mining reached its peak n Papua New Guinea in the 1920s. Indeed the town of Lae was established as a prospecting centre. In the last few years, as international currencies have fluctuated and the free-market price of gold has rocketed, interest in the mineral has rekindled in many parts of the world.