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This is Papua New Guinea

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    This is Papua New Guinea

    Another country less visited will hereby get it's own thread on CVF.
    Papua New Guinea was familiar territory for me back when it was still an Australian Protectorate. I spent abt. 1 1/2 year trading there in two periods, first in 1968 and again in 1969 to Aug. 1970, but has not been back since.

    Last week I flew to Port Moresby and on to a small island called Lihir, which is situated to the east of New Ireland. Never heard of the place? Don't worry, neither have most of mankind.

    The only reason there is any interest in this island is the large Gold Mine that has been operated there since 1997 and wanting to expand production now when the gold price is sky high and climbing.

    I was there to investigate how to best offload a Power Barge from a Heavy Lift Vessel in order to increase power production and thus the processing of the ore to reach 1 million ounces/year production target.

    But let us go and have a look at the harbour.

    The Mine Site is actually inside the caldera of an old volcano. But one side has collapsed and slipped into deep water, allowing for a reasonably sheltered bay to be formed.

    This is Luise Harbour as viewed from Put Put Point:

    Looks nice and flat, but when looking closer you can see the long low South Pacific swells rolling into the bay:

    In the "swell season" they can get up to 2 m. in height in the bay.

    Well, let's get out on the water to see what it is actually like.
    Here is Luise Harbour as viewed from the open approach:

    The Open Pit Mine with steam raising from boreholes:

    The processing plant:


      Re: This is Papua New Guinea

      A little closer look at the main wharf:

      The center cone of the old volcano is supposed to be the major source of gold bearing rocks, but it is off limit as it is where the islanders used to go to die and is thus sacred ground:
      Last edited by ombugge; June 22nd, 2011, 13:54.


        Re: This is Papua New Guinea

        Now back ashore for a look at the conditions at the wharf.
        The M/V Kokopo Chief of China Navigation was alongside discharging containers:

        Note the difference in the Bow ropes:

        Yes, the long low swell is affecting conditions at the relatively sheltered wharf in the "off swell season" as well.
        Last edited by ombugge; June 22nd, 2011, 17:46. Reason: Correct pix


          Re: This is Papua New Guinea

          If there is something there is enough of on the island it is big truck tires:

          Quite well fendered.

          A look at the ship's superstructure for those who like details:

          More to follow.
          Last edited by ombugge; June 22nd, 2011, 13:55.


            Re: This is Papua New Guinea

            Let's go for a drive to see if there may be some suitable bays on the lee side of the island:

            The villages hasn't changed much in the 41 years since I was here last:


              Re: This is Papua New Guinea

              A nice bay with no swell:

              But is there anchor bottom???

              The road is getting narrower and steeper:

              Sorry about the foggy window, air conditioning running at full throttle.


                Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                Ooops the last big rain storm washed out the road bed:

                But the Mining Company has sent some heavy equipment to fix it.

                Change into 4-wheel drive to tackle those rolling stones:

                Another rain storm brewing?:


                  Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                  Another day dawns in the new Camp 4:

                  More rooms under construction to house the people coming in for the expansion of the mining activity:


                    Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                    A Piling barge is getting ready the moorings for the Power barge:

                    First dolphin is driven:


                      Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                      If you thought that gold were produced by a bunch of prospectors panning in rivers, think again. Let's visit the processing plant:

                      The nearest to a "pan" there is must be these "thickeners":

                      PS> The Gold Room is off limit to mere mortals.


                        Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                        But back to business, a visit to the Project Management Office for the new plant extension:

                        I wanted to get some more info on conditions in the habour and Bathymetrics of the bay.

                        It appears that "everybody" have their own 4-wheel drive to get around the mine site:


                          Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                          There is also a Power Station with steam coming from Thermo wells:

                          Here is one well that isn't being utilized:


                            Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                            To produce gold there is a lot of non-goldbearing rocks and tailings to get rid of. Presently abt. 40 Million tonnes a year. Some is used to reclaim the shallow part of the bay for more infrastructure, but the majority is dumped in deep water just outside the bay.

                            Here is one of the dump barges being loaded:

                            And one always at the Maintenance wharf:


                              Re: This is Papua New Guinea

                              Lihir Island is not only a Gold Mine, although not much else matters. The Mining Company control all air travel to the island and there are no hotels, except a "resort" on the NW side of the island, also built and controlled by them.

                              Let's go for a cruise to look at what is there. Since there is no Cruise Ship calling here, we'll have to make do with the tug EDI:

                              Built in Sibu, Sarawak in 2009. 1200 Bhp. Normally busy assisting the Piling barge, but kindly made available for our little cruise.