Bougainville could build small gold refinery

9:25 am on 9 February 2016

The financially struggling Papua New Guinea autonomous region of Bougainville is considering building a gold refinery.

The president John Momis said they wanted to tap into the informal but lucrative alluvial gold mining industry that thousands of Bougainvilleans rely on for income.

Mostly done in the tailings of the long shut Panguna mine, alluvial mining is dangerous, not least the miners' use of mercury to extract the gold.

Mr Momis said the ABG wanted to control and profit from the sector.

"Including perhaps setting up a small refinery so we can entice the alluvial gold miners to sell to us rather than selling to outsiders through Solomon Islands or even PNG, different ports, and paying nothing, no tax all to the ABG."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs