The National, Wednesday, April 27, 2011
By BOSORINA ROBBY
THE issue of mineral ownership was one of the top five predominant issues raised by stakeholders in all the regional consultation forums hosted by the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazard Management (DMGM) from April 12-21.
The purpose was to gather feedback from the stakeholders to review the current Mining Act 1992, the Mining (Safety) Act 1977, the Mineral Policy, the development of the Offshore Mineral Policy and the subsequent amendment of the Mineral Resources Act 2005.
Last week at the Southern region workshop, deputy secretary Shadrach Himata said the review was the main task for the department after moving away from the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).
The DMPGM was set up by the National Executive Council in 2008 to deal with the policy functions of the Department of Mining while the MRA remained as the mines regulatory body.
He said as part of their mission, the department had since last year, engaged the general public-provincial administrations, individuals, churches, NGOs, politicians and more to share their views on the mining act.
This has resulted in common issues identified including mineral ownership, environment and impacts, benefits distribution, licensing and tenement periods and social impact exercises, but with emphasis on mineral ownership.
Director MPLD Harry Kore explained that the current Mining Act 1992, in section 5 clearly stipulates that all minerals belong to the state who will regulate and administer the funds for the people.
He said most views requested that the people, traditional landowners, wanted to be in control of their benefits and suggested that the current 2% royalty rate be increased to 5% to allow for real benefits to be felt.
Himata explained that the issue of benefits and impacts were still not seen as tangible outcomes in infrastructure and schools, and more, but would rather be felt directly.
Once completed, the reviewed Mining Act will then be presented to parliament in the next sitting.