Manis Aver works in a remote area of Papua New Guinea, working on the Gandep Training Centre that will potentially provide for 200 communities and 3000 people in the surrounding region.
Apprentices are already learning the skills and techniques of the trade the best way possible – on the job. Working alongside Manis they are erecting the much-needed teaching and staffing facilities for the Centre.
Making the most of local assets, they are milling mainly large logs of Kwila (Intsia bijuga) to use on the building project. The dense hardwood is strong and durable, making it ideal for construction. Trees are felled and milled on site, with the landowner having donated the trees on the undeveloped land to Frank’s cause.
Frank Sanders is a development worker from Australia who is helping oversee the project. He was also the one to decide which portable sawmill would be used in the tough environment.
“Without the Peterson mill, it would be impossible to process large trees out here,” Frank says. Due to the remote location, one of the biggest advantages is that the mill can be carried into the rough forest on foot. The mill is lightweight, quick and easy to assemble, and has a minimal environmental impact.
Frank’s choice, the Peterson 8” Winch Production Frame (WPF) with a 24hp Honda motor cuts the Kwila easily, with the mill and motor capacity designed to handle the heavy wood. The 8” blade enables Frank to cut the various timber dimensions required for the different buildings. The benefit is that the stainless steel and aluminium materials make it rust resistant. Peterson’s WPF is the “most labour effective way of milling with limited heavy machinery”.
Manis has trained three operators from the village, and five assistants help with moving logs into place or removing cut timber. During production though, only one operator and two assistants are needed per machine, which means more hands are freed up for other jobs in this large-scale forest operation.
The Peterson mill’s portability and fast production of accurate boards have made it the ideal sawmill for the Gandep Training Centre project. With the two Peterson mills Frank purchased, Manis and his team have been able to complete six staff houses, two classrooms and a library already. Next in line will be the dining hall, and then an agricultural and community development building.
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