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|Amongst the Pacific Rim countries, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the leader in new gold discoveries and developments leading to new production. PNG has shown a dramatic increase in gold production when taken from a base of about 600 000 ounces in 1984 to 1 160 000 ounces in 1986. 1987 is expected to produce about 1 500 000 ounces and new planned developments will give further large increases. PNG's leading position when compared with neighboring Pacific Rim countries is only partly due to its favorable geological setting along the "Rim of Fire" epithermal zone. More important have been well-thought-out mining development legislation and good administration as well as consistent taxation and royalty policies. A stable political environment and a track record of new mining developments over the last 15 years, both pre and post Independence in 1975, have also been important factors in encouraging the new developments. Early Portuguese explorers associated the New Guinea mainland with gold as early as 1525 but it was not un,11 1R77 that a small ill-fated gold rush gave the first recorded production at Laloki near Port Moresby. Modest but commercial discoveries were made in the outer islands and coastal mainland regions from 1888 to 1926. In 1922 William "Sharkeye" Park found gold at Edie Creek and this led to major discoveries at Wau and Bulolo which were the first large scale commercial gold Operations.|