NURS 655 Assignment Mining Challenges Paper
NURS 655 Assignment Mining Challenges Paper
challenges faced by EHR data mining in a two-page paper in APA format. Make sure
to include the following:
What is the potential of healthcare data mining?
How can it benefit or improve patient outcomes?
Include 2–3 scholarly resources in APA format. Examples of
scholarly sources include professional journal articles and books obtained from
library databases, national guidelines, and informatics organizations,
published within the last five years.
CHALLENGES IN SMALL SCALE MINING THAT PREVENT ACHIEVEMENTS IN SUSTAINBLE
Occupational Health, Safety and Hygiene
According to past records from the mining industry in Papua New Guinea, the small scale mining
(SSM) sector has a very poor safety record. Many miners die or sustain critical bodily injuries each
year due to unsafe mining practices with poor adherence to Health & Safety standards. Accidents
and deaths result either directly from unsafe mine practices or indirectly from mining related
diseases and illnesses.
The underlying cause of these accidents may be a lack of education, training and awareness for
miners emphasizing the importance of occupational safety and health. The lack of knowledge and
skills on safe mining and processing techniques contributes to the ever increasing cases of health and
safety problems. Moreover, it results in environmental issues.
Most miners settle in very poor traditional housing conditions. Some miners live in make‐shift
shelters next to mining sites and rivers to avoid long travel to work and to protect their land/leases
from thieves and invading miners. These shelters hardly offer comfort and protection from bad
weather conditions, landslides, floods and thieves. Mining sites are located in very isolated and
dangerous geographic settings. Some mining activities are done next to homes/villages and near
public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and power pylons.
Page | 5
Most rivers are polluted with mercury, sedimentation adds to the problem and thus water shortage
and sanitation is a common problem in most mining communities. Half of the miners are school‐aged
kids, women and children who are particularly vulnerable to hazards encountered in mining sites,
such as mercury poisoning and sicknesses such as malaria, HIVAIDS, diarrhea, respiratory diseases
and joint dislocations. Miners are also at risk of been robbed. To forget pain, miners turn to drugs
and alcohol. In addition, the influx of people in search of business opportunities into mining
communities poses high risks of the spread of HIV/AIDS and STIs.
Safety methods of mining are of paramount importance in small scale mining. There are many
unreported deaths and accidents related to SSM in Papua New Guinea. Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE) has never been used in SSM activities despite the fact that it is affordable.
Disease outbreaks, such as cholera, are common in mining communities and some contributing
factors are poor sanitation, hygiene and water contamination. Most interviewed miners mentioned
that after long hours of hard work or handling of mercury, many never bothered to wash or clean
themselves. Women miners as housekeepers prepare food for their families coming straight from the
mine site without cleaning themselves. Simple hygiene and cleanliness is totally absent in mining
Most school‐aged children are seen in mining sites and along river banks after school and during
weekends. Others who live near mining sites do not go to school at all and the lack of educational
infrastructure is a contributing factor to the high drop‐out rates. Many children leave school inorder
to mine to support themselves with school fees and money for other necessities because they have
to mine in order to support parents to look for school fees. Some decide to leave school themselves
to earn their living and own things like their friends from working families have. Others, who are not
directly involved in mining, leave school just to transport goods from nearby airdromes to mining
sites to earn some money.
Most children and infants brought to mining sites are exposed to hazards such as dust, falling
objects, noise produced by machinery, inhalation of mercury fumes from amalgamation and
ingestion of mercury. Children are engaged in long hours of panning, sluicing, manual handling of
heavy objects, amalgamation and retorting without proper safety gears or PPE.
Mercury is used by about 80%‐90% of small scale miners in all alluvial and hard rock mining sites.
Although no studies have been conducted to get actual figures, participants interviewed at the small
scale mining training centre, both from alluvial and hard rock mining areas throughout the country,
mentioned that mercury was the only useful chemical – “gol marasin” (gold medicine) – to recover
their gold. Many participants and miners visited at their mining sites even mentioned that they were
not aware that mercury was poisonous and incurred health risks.
The most vulnerable people who are pregnant women and children are involved in open mercury
amalgamation and retorting. Cooking utensils used for mercury amalgamation are sometimes reused
for food preparation (?). Open fires that are used for amalgamation are used again to burn potatoes
or bananas for consumption or cook food for families. Mercury and black sand after amalgamation is
directly disposed into the river system. This is dangerous to people who live downstream and are
dependent on fisheries. Polluted rivers are still used for washing and drinking which is very
dangerous to people’s health. This causes mercury related health risks such as respiratory problems,
nausea, nervous breakdown and even death if methyl mercury is taken into the body.
Page | 6
Environmental Impacts of Small scale mining.
The impacts of small scale mining on the environment varies according to geographical setting and
methods of mining used. The risks involved include tree cutting and digging, destruction of
vegetation and top soil exposure, soil erosion, river/water pollution through the use of mercury and
discharge of particulate matter , acid mine drainage, mercury vapor and clouds of dust emissions and
many others. Environmental degradation is severe when thousands of miners are spread throughout
Threats posed by these environmental destructions include loss of biodiversity and extinction of
unique and endangered species. For instance, in the Wau/Bulolo area, illegal mining is happening in
protected areas such as the McAdams National Park known to protect the ”clinky pine tree”, the
world’s tallest tropical tree and a native plant. Excessive and unnecessary clearance of vegetation in
search of gold without revegetating the land results in high occurrences of soil erosion, landslides in
parks, near villages and public infrastructure. Pollution of rivers by mercury and sedimentation is a
threat to villagers depending on fisheries downstream for livelihood. River diversions to recover
alluvial gold destroy low lying villages and roads. River organisms also suffer from these river
diversions. Forest destruction and emissions of dust are also contributing factors to global warming
when looking at it at a global scale. Mercury and other chemical spillages may contaminate ground
water that most people around mining communities depend on.
Economics of Small Scale Mining.
No financial institutions or credit schemes are specially designed to provide financial support to small
scale miners. The Nationwide Micro bank in Wau which was established by the World Bank/JSDF
project purposely for miners do not have small scale miners as their regular clients. Most miners are
known to be illiterate and generally have a ‘don’t care’ approach to how they manage their money.
Small scale mining can be a possible avenue to alleviate poverty if right financial mechanisms are put
in place and if follow‐up on projects from the World Bank and other similar projects are monitored.
i) Lack of access to credit and finance
Apart from technical education, small scale miners also need financial assistance to be able to engage
more independently in mining and to obtain greater benefits from their labor. Small scale miners
generally tend to have lower levels of formal education. Moreover, they have less or no forms of
collateral to guarantee them to get financial support from commercial institutions. So this implies
that small scale miners have limited means to raise funds to buy mining equipment, finance trips to
better gold markets, or meet application fees for mining leases etc.
In general, small scale miners in PNG find it hard to obtain financing from commercial institutions.
The banks are cautious of getting involved with the small scale mining business as they consider it to
be of high risk. This is due to a lot of factors including
(i) the miners have little or no collateral to offer as security for the loan,
(ii) they have no credit record,
(iii) they have little or no proven management skills,
(iv) they have irregular earning potential, and
(iv) they lack capacity to deal with officials and rather complicated paperwork involved.
Page | 7
SOCIAL ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH SMALL SCALE MINING.
HIV/AIDS, Gender Equality & Personal Viability.
Production in large cash and migration of people into mining communities have resulted in the
increase of alcohol and drug abuse, gambling, violence against women, prostitution, marital
problems, lack of education and general lawlessness. As a consequence of this social disorder,
HIV/AIDS is a growing concern in all small scale mining communities. Young women and mothers,
struggling to make a living, tend to get involved in sex trade and prostitution to support themselves
and their families or to meet the high cost of living. Low literacy levels have contributed to the rise in
HIV/AIDS cases because relevant and sufficient information is not clearly understood Generally,
many indigenous people view HIV/AIDS and gender equality as violation against their traditional
values. It is therefore difficult for them to come out freely and openly to accept and learn about
At first sight, gender equality is unflawed in small scale mining activities. For instance, a survey was
conducted by trainers from the small scale mining training centre in October 2009 to collect
information on Gold recovery, Mercury usage, Occupational Health and Safety and other related
issues. The survey was conducted in and around the Wau/Bulolo area. During the survey, views of
men regarding their women folk’s participation in mining were collected. Almost 100% of the male
miners’ response towards women’s participation was positive.
When asked how they felt about
women’s involvement in mining “most said that they had no problems working with women because
both parties depended on each other for fast and satisfactory gold production, women were needed
to reduce the work load. There was absolutely no discrimination observed in the mining activities
carried out between male and female miners during the survey. In contrary, women are still seen as
introverts and are not actively involved in decision‐making.
Cultural norms are the obvious barrier to many positive achievements by small scale miners and may
be an obstacle to achieving and addressing other sustainable development issues. In order to change
these cultural perspectives of indigenous people gradually, the values, perceptions, attitudes and
behaviors of individuals for a positive living and self reliance is important. These can help people to
have respect for themselves, other individuals, public property, the environment and have a sense of
responsibility in what they do.
Cross‐cutting issues faced by small scale miners may not be addressed successfully if capacity
building programs are gender neutral/biased. Both, men and women, should be part of awareness
and training programs aimed at dealing with women’s issues so that a holistic approach can be taken
to address problems faced by women and men alike.
Small scale miners have not been adequately represented in associations and other organized
activities to air their views, concerns and grievances related to impacts brought about by mining
activities in general. Promoting small scale miners and advancing the cause of gender equality that is
already present may overcome these barriers and achieve sustainable development.
Page | 8
OTHER CONSTRAINTS OF SMALL SCALE MINING.
i) Legal and administrative constraints
There is no specific law governing the Small Scale Mining sector like in other countries where small
scale mining exists. Unfortunately, the PNG Mining Act as well as the mining regulations mentions
the small scale mining sector only briefly. There is no gender equity provision, nor any reference
made to that effect in these documents. It is disappointing to note that the existing legal framework
in mining does not support women in mining, let alone women in small scale mining.
ii) Lack of representation and support
Small scale miners for a long time have been invisible and have been hiding under their domestic
roles. There has not been an opportunity to organize them under a structure to represent their
interests. Currently, there is one miners association, which is not active now, called Wau‐Bulolo Gold
Miners Associations. Provision has been made for a female deputy chairperson under its constitution.
However, experience shows that community women feel intimidated to speak up and represent their
women folk in this context. On the other hand, the male representatives tend to accommodate the
female representative with respect and courtesy but the decision making and control firmly rests in
the men’s hands. Women should be encouraged to form their own female miners’ association or
working group to represent their interest in small scale mining.
ROLE OF WOMEN IN SMALL SCALE MINING
In addition to their household chores women are involved in SSM as either miners (producers) or
support service providers to the mining communities.
¾ As a miner (involved in direct production)
Small scale mining activity in PNG is mainly in mining gold. To mine the women miners need
technical skills such as know‐how to mine, how to sell, how to source finance, how to manage
income from sale of gold etc.
¾ As a service provider (involved in providing support services)
Small scale mining activities usually take place in remote locations and obviously mining communities
are created by the migrating population, either coming from outside or the local land owners
themselves. Women in mining communities position themselves to provide support services such as
store goods, garden produce, mining tools or even trade in gold. To provide support services women
must identify a commercial opportunity, organize resources and market these. They need to have
the know‐how in business, how to source finance, skills and know‐how in the type of service they
want to provide. For example,
(i) if a woman wants to buy gold (gold trader) she would need to know how to buy and sell
the gold. That is, she must know the gold grades and what prices to offer, where and how
gold is processed, identify a market, how to save & invest etc.
(ii) if a woman wants to run a trade store she would need to assess the demand and potential
customers, know how to source store goods, organize transport, how to deal with
competition, how to cost and price the goods, control stock etc.
Page | 9
¾ As a home maker (involved in providing care and support to her family)
Women in SSM communities need to manage their homes as this is their primary responsibility. They
must ensure that their families are strong, healthy, and wise. To provide strong and sensible support
for their families, they must know how to budget and spend money wisely, care for their families’
health, hygiene and safety, manage and use time productively, provide direct support to their
husbands, such as keeping record of mining activities etc.
Therefore, the empowerment of women in SSM has many different aspects to be considered.
However, common empowerment problems and issues are experienced by women in PNG and
women world‐wide that undermine and hinder the participation and progress of women in SSM.
CONSTRAINTS OF WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN SMALL SCALE MINING
It was discovered by officers in the JSDF Project that the majority of small scale miners in PNG lacks
basic education. Miners in Wau‐Bulolo area were found to have less basic education than miners
from other parts of the country. Illiteracy rates among both, male and female miners, are high, which
has affected their ability to read, write and understand the training materials.
The lack of basic education and widespread illiteracy has compounded the problems of women and
greatly hindered the participation and progress of women in SSM. The following factors have been
identified, from our own experience and also from studies conducted on women in SSM, to limit the
women from mining at the same productive rate as the men miners.
i) Women have less technical know‐how than their male counterparts
A number of factors contribute to this lack of know‐how. First, women in general tend to shy away
from getting involved in anything of technical nature. Second, the stereotype view of society that
women are not capable of handling anything technical. Third, women, being always in a subordinate
position, lack the access and control over resources to develop their capacity through education and
training etc. Fourth, the women stay hidden under their domestic roles and they have comparatively
fewer opportunities than men to gain practical mining experience, and to be exposed to assistances
Mining has always been a technically oriented activity so for women to get involved they have to get
over these hurdles. I must say, sometimes the technical aspects of mining are over emphasized just
to create a barrier for women to get involved.
iv) Lack of management and administration skills
Women miners’ lack of basic education is a major contributing factor that undermines their
entrepreneurial ability. It is all very well to acquire some knowledge and understanding about
business management but the problem is the inability to transfer and apply the knowledge and skills
learnt to one’s own work situation.
v) The traditional beliefs and values
The existing cultural/ traditional beliefs and values place a heavy burden on the women miner and
that limits her independence and mobility. For example, the traditional ‘division of labor’ that
imposes a heavy family burden on the women leaves her little time to engage in mining. The heavy
involvement of men in mining does not help her situation. In contrary, it only relegates the women to
Page | 10
domestic roles. Moreover, the subordinate position of women in our society disadvantages her in
terms of access and control over resources such as mining land tenure.
WHY PROMOTE AND SUPPORT WOMEN IN SMALL SCALE MINING?
1. Evidence suggests that small scale mining enterprises owned by women are generally better
managed than those under male control.
2. Women, on average, are more concerned with environmental, health and safety issues of
mining than their male counterparts.
3. Women appear to be much more likely to spend mining incomes on children and the running of
households than the men, who are instead prone to wasting it on drinking, prostitution,
gambling and personal gratification.
For these and many other reasons, it is clear that greater female involvement in SSM is not only
important, but also for the positive ‘knock on’ effect it would have on the lives of children, families,
local communities, and the environment.
Women, as much as possible, want to get involved in SSM; the sector is not very well developed in
the country. Little attention was given to this sector until recently (2004) when donor organizations
such as World Bank, EU, Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF), and AusAid decided to fund
projects through MRA in this sector. Slowly, through these project interventions, the sector is getting
the much needed boost making it possible to realize the potential benefits from this sector which
was previously untapped. Women in SSM, however, have very much stayed invisible and silent all
this time. Lately, the empowerment of women to actively participate in small scale mining has been
advanced. Our presentation at this conference is a way of public announcement that women in SSM
are coming out of their closet to become equal partners with the male miners.
However, given the status of women in the sector so far, the gap between women miners and men
miners is wide in terms of women mining productively as well as the men. Factors that hinder
women from equally participating as well as the men have to be addressed.
CURRENT INITIATIVES AND PLANS TO ADDRESS THE EMPOWERMENT OF SMALL SCALE MINERS IN
The lack of empowerment of Small Scale Mining has been acknowledged and there are current
initiatives and plans to address the problem.
One of the initiatives that will have the greatest and direct impact on the challenges faced by small
scale miners in the Small Scale Mining sector and the gradual achievement of sustainable
development issues is the Wau Small Scale Mining Training Centre.
1. WAU SMALL SCALE MINING TRAINING CENTRE
The Wau Small Scale Mining Training Centre which was opened on 7th May 2009 and is funded by
European Union Mining Sector Support Program and facilitated through the Small Scale Mining
Branch of Mineral Resources Authority of Papua New Guinea. The project is managed by Projekt‐
Consult GmbH of Germany. Projekt‐Consult GmbH is engaged in the management of the execution of
projects in international cooperation programs.
Page | 11
The Small Scale Mining Training Centre is based in Wau, Morobe Province. The training centre is
based in Wau because it was a colonial mining township and well known for the gold rush in the early
1920s. The training centre comprises classroom facilities, administration blocks, dormitories for
females and males respectively, canteen and a demonstration shed for simulation activities.
1.2 Training programs and courses taught.
i) Training of Trainer Program
A program which involved the training of trainers who then become trainers at the training centre
was initiated after the inauguration of the centre. This training was for the duration of six months
and was conducted on need basis. The 8 graduates from the initial TOT program are currently
conducting training for the miners. The trainers have different backgrounds and professions ranging
from geology, environment, mining & engineering, chemistry, teaching, business and technical
background. Knowledge and expertise from these diverse backgrounds are put together with the
help of hired consultants to develop training materials on issues related to mining.
ii) Small Scale Miners’ Training Program
The training program is divided into four levels of study starting from the basic courses in level 1 and
increases in complexity with subsequent higher levels. Training is conducted on two levels. The
theoretical aspect of the training is the trainer to participant interaction, role plays and discussions
during training. The practical aspect of the training is when participants are taken out into the field to
have hands on experience, site seeing or conduct simulation activities to enforce their theoretical
knowledge. The contents of the training courses are organized as modules under the four levels as
shown in table 1. After the participants complete each level of course, a certificate of attainment is
presented after the required period of study is completed.
Levels of courses offered at the Small scale mining training centre.
There are four levels of courses offered at the small scale mining training centre.
The courses under the higher levels of study are building up from the basic levels so the levels will
have to be followed through to complete the requirements of the training program.
The training of small scale miners started in September 2009. So far SSMTC has trained seven
batches of participants that have undergone training in Level I courses. Level 2, 3, and 4 courses are
under development and will be introduced at a later date.
Course Level Attainment Course Duration
Level 1: Certificate 1 in Small Scale Mining 2 weeks
Level 2: Certificate 2 in Small Scale Mining 2 weeks
Level 3: Certificate 3 in Small Scale Mining 2 weeks
Level 4: Certificate 4 in Small Scale Mining 2 week