There has been an increase in visible gold discoveries across several regions recently. In Papua New Guinea gold has been identified intermittently over 33 metres of drill core in a new prospect, approximately 1 kilometre south of Indochine Mining's Mt Kare project. The fine grain was found at a 170 metre depth downhole where the structure of mineralisation, within a sheared sandstone host, appears to differ from the currently identified resource to the north.
A New Zealand gold rush
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, there has been a Northland gold rush.
Northland Mountain, about 20km North of Whangarei is no stranger to gold fever. In 1889, the potential at Puhipuhi Gold Mine was so great that the whole of the North Island was expected to benefit. At the time three striking silver and gold-bearing stones had been placed on show in Whangarei.
But gold was never extracted in vast amounts from Puhipuhi, though it is believed to be there, deep in the earth. Now with the prospect of jobs, profits and the boost to areas such as Northland, the government continues to encourage the country to be more open to mineral exploration. This is to the delight of some and consternation of others.
In recent times a number of international mining companies have held exploration licences over the area but have not gone on to mine for gold. But now 5,537 square kilometres have been opened up to competitive tender.
Companies have until December 2012 to submit five-year work programmes as they bid for exploration rights. With the New Zealand government enthusiastic about gold mining, some locals feel under threat – although local jobs will be created should mining at Puhipuhi go ahead - and extensive Environment Impact and Social Impact Assessments need to take place, with community relations being an important element to consider.
It is not uncommon to have a process where it would take five to ten years from starting work to actually having gold coming out of the ground, so locals have some time to wait before they see any real disruption at Puhipuhi.
Positively, Far North District Mayor, Wayne Brown, makes reference to reports which detail the gold and silver in the region could be worth $1.53 billion and that expanding mineral production would create an estimated 1,127 full-time jobs in the mining sector and over 1,500 new jobs in other sectors.
Developing Burma’s minerals sector
The chairman of exploration company Global Resources Corp, Stephen Everett, has said that smaller Australian exploration and mining firms are well placed to enter Burma, officially called Myanmar, as the nation has recently opened to foreign investment after many years of military rule.
Mining experts say the lack of multinational mining firms currently active in the country makes it an ideal playground for small-scale miners. With its strong reputation in the mining sector, Australia is the first to scope out opportunities in Burma's underdeveloped minerals sector.
Although the country has great potential for gold mining Burma’s restrictive regulatory framework, including an export ban on raw ore and certain mineral commodities such as gold and coal; an inhibitive Production Sharing Contract arrangement; and lack of a legal structure means that many interested companies will be playing a long waiting game.
Background image: INGDMYFSO627 or INPE0165