PNG's Pioneer Limestone Mine set to re-open
MOROBE’s pioneer limestone project in Buang in Bulolo that ceased 20 years ago is set to operate as the first-ever mining lease owned by landowners in country.
The Explominers Geoservices Ltd (EGL) technical assessment report on ML (mining lease) 28 upon advice from mining advisory council saw the Bayawaha Limestone Company Ltd (BLCL) as the leaseholder and proponent of the development of its limestone resource.
According to EGL, the aggregate business BLCL has more than adequate resources to sustain the planned production rate of 600,000 tonnes per annum for more than 20 years of the mine’s lifespan.
EGL report highlights four various blocks and its mineral deposit value.
Block A contains 33.5 million tonnes (97.4 per cent CaCo3), block B-32 million tonnes (90 per cent CaCo3), block C-58 million tonnes, (80 per cent CaCo3) and block D-31million tonnes (80 per cent CaCo3). BLCL chairman Julie Towak Yakam said they had acquired the ML license, environmental permit and incorporated land group (ILGs) certificates.
Towak, the widow of project principal late Yakam Bom, said it was a struggle to acquire relevant documents purposely to ensure landowners and children to own the mine, set up crusher on site and a plant in Lae to produce and supply hydrated lime powder.
“We need only K10 million to build the plant and I urged the government to create a way for us through the small and medium enterprise scheme,” she said.
to acquire a loan from the National Development Bank to get the project begin soon.
“The loan will be repaid within five months period,” Yakam said.
“If Prime Minister James Marape boasts about ‘taking back PNG’ similarly to Governor Ginson Saonu claiming to ‘take back Morobe’ then this is the way forward,” she said.
“We have the resources, the knowledge and skills and the government needed to appreciate and empower us to own and developed it ourselves rather than to depend too much on foreigners.”
Late Bom and Julie operated the mine since 1968 when ML 28 was under New Guinea Containers (NGC) and expired in 1989.
Late Bom passed on in 2009 leaving Julie that struggled since 2010 until she acquired the ML 28 title in 2015.
Yawing Bom, Julie’s brother in-law said the soft launching on March 7 was to inform clan members about company operational structures, directorship, shareholdings, clan participation and beneficiaries.
He said the three clans under Katumani tribe include Bayakwasang, Bayasangas and Baiyune are united under Kawasang landowners association are also the BLCL directors and shareholders.