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30 January 2017

Snorkelling at Loloho Beach


 

This is a recent clip of Loloho Beach but it's timeless and could've been taken back in the 70s when we all lived in Camp 6 and had all that glorious beach right on our doorstep.

Did we appreciate it as much as we should have? Perhaps not, as many of us spent what little time there was left after a long ten-hour working day inside the "boozer" which, thankfully, was also on the beach.

Still, I am grateful for the memories - as is my dermatologist who earns a good living cutting out the countless melanomas on my back which I acquired while snorkelling for hours off the beach at Loloho.

 

P.S. While watching the clip, please keep your eyes open for a left rubber sandal which I lost among the coral back in 1970 ☺

 

22 January 2017

This says it all!

 

20 January 2017

Owen Lysaght emailed from Melbourne:

Hi,

I worked for Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) in the 1980’s and left in 1989. I worked at BCL through a firm called Skilled Engineering International, who for a short time were the Asia-Pacific part of Skilled Engineering, who are still operating now in Australia.

I worked at the Loloho Power Station on the original Bechtel drawings that were in German. My background was in Civil and Electrical from the Navy and we had one of the early versions of Autocad in our little design office, located next to the power station.

I was in my 20’s when I was at BCL and it was an adventure like no other. I can remember asking Ron McInnis one day if I could be shown how the assaying was done, no problem, try doing that in Australia. One day an ore carrier came in way too fast, went hard astern and our little office started to shake, we looked at each other and for a second imagined it coming over the road and ending up in the carpark.

I actually met Francis Ona in the early days of the conflict, before the towers started to be targeted and the BRA were still on speaking terms with BCL and the PNG government. It is tragic what has happened. How they thought they could secede from PNG when at the time BCL was 25% of the GDP.

After Bougainville, I worked for Riotinto iron ore in Perth and then Singapore, during the iron ore boom. I am currently in Melbourne and am looking for a role, maybe FIFO, somewhere in the world. The problem is, there are not enough mine shutdowns, gas turbines to be commissioned, ball mills that need to be built, and crushing plant that need to be designed.

Kind Regards
Owen Lysaght
Email: owen.lysaght[AT]gmail.com
Mobile: 0407 664 495
Skype: Owen.Lysaght

 

17 January 2017

BCL Brochure

 

Bougainville facebook page

You can find these and many other gems on the
Bougainville facebook page

For a shortcut to all those precious photos, click here

 

15 January 2017

Longyear at Bougainville


Sadly, unreliable Eastmancolor was used for printing this copy of the original film and the print has faded badly with loss of the reds and blue/greens making it almost monochrome now.

Drilling for copper on Bougainville Island in 1964 using the revolutionary new Longyear Triple Tube Wireline Core Barrel specially developed to properly assess the quality of the very broken copper orebody in the highlands of this mountainous and remote island. Shows spectacular aerial views of this beautiful, rugged island and the huge success of the Longyear Triple Tube Core Barrel right from its first use drilling deep into the broken orebody! For the first time, it enabled the high copper content of the very rich orebody to be determined and a decision made on going ahead with develoment of the hugely valuable copper mine in this very difficult and politically unsettled location.

The tribal conflict of the Bougainville Revolution brought operations to a close shortly after this film was made and the orebody is today one of the world's richest unmined copper deposits.

 

13 January 2017

What the resource curse is doing to Bougainville

The rusted air vent is deafening and a whoosh echoes around the pit. Copper-polluted water sits in a pool nearby and trees are starting to take over the graded hillside. Rocky, uneven ground is where locals pan for gold, hoping to find a few grams to make some money for families living in nearby villages. Seven kilometres wide at its broadest point, the Rio Tinto-controlled Bougainville copper mine in Papua New Guinea hasn’t been in operation for nearly 25 years, yet still dominates the local landscape.

Dozens of massive trucks lie inoperable. Oil drips from their engines and runs downstream. A loud, machine-like sound is heard in the pit. The vent is sucking air directly into a pipe that takes water outside the mine itself. It is this device that allows the mine not to fill up completely with water when it rains constantly during the rainy season. It has been making this booming sound 24 hours a day for the past two decades.

The island’s brutal war from 1989 to 1997 caused the death of many thousands, maimed countless others and involved Australia arming, training and funding Port Moresby to oppose the rebellion. Former PNG leader Michael Somare accuses Rio Tinto of violently suppressing rebels opposed to the mine during the “crisis”.

Bougainvilleans may have won the war but the peace has left years of inertia, and a province desperately in need of rehabilitation.

The town closest to Panguna mine, Awara, feels stuck in time, old buildings are devoured by lush jungle, Shell and Mobil service stations decay on the side of the road. The locals are used to the poor infrastructure and housing and there are few active services for the dwindling population.

“The mine was never really closed,” says Josephine, manager of the Arawa Women’s Training Centre. “Workers and the company just fled.”

Read the rest of the story here.

 

John Hewitt emailed from the U.K.:

Hi Peter

I've recently been watching a Sky Discovery programme called "The Legend of Croc Gold" - see here -, which covers the exploits of a group of Alaskan gold miners who have been dredging the Queens River bed for alluvial gold. If you have seen it, you will have seen the difficulties they encountered, including large crocs lurking about the riverbanks.

They were using a 6"dredge, with a diver in a croc proof cage, sucking up the riverbed and sluicing it over a set of riffles. They did find gold, some quite large nuggets, or pickers as they called them, because they could pick them out with their fingers.

They were aiming to dredge an ounce an hour, but only averaged about 0.7ounce/hour, but they were intending to go back again to set up a bigger operation. The Queens River is north east of Loloho, and the gold deposits are not that far from Mt Bagana, which is no doubt where the gold originated.

There were also a few clips of Arawa as it is now, with odd clips showing the war.

Glad to see the blog is still going. I'm a member of a Facebook Group called Opencast and Quarrying, and have posted a few of my photos, and extracts from old copies of "the Concentrator" which are always well received.

Do you mind if I post some extracts from the blog? I'm sure they will be appreciated, and as the mining industry is a brotherhood, there must be other ex BCPL employees reading the Facebook page, so there may be some more contributors.

Hope to hear from you soon
Kind regards
John Hewitt
Maintenance Controller, Crushing, 1973/74
Now living near Sheffield, England
email jhewitt19[AT]hotmail.com

 

3 January 2017

Good morning, Bougainville


 

2 January 2017

Blood and Treasure


 

1 January 2017

For Tomorrow 1966