Mining lease not land title: MRA


MINING leases are not land titles and it is wrong to consider them as such in the Mining Act (1992), an official says.
Small scale mining development engineer with Mineral Resources Authority, Cedric Kau, said a mining lease was for mining only and not for construction of dwellings, settlements, farming or other purposes other than mining minerals.
“When a developer submits its application for alluvial mining, it goes through an extensive screening process which includes preliminary assessment, detailed technical assessment, a warden hearing and then to the Mining Advisory Council (MAC) for deliberation before a decision is made,” Kau said.
The council will ensure if the developer meets all the requirements and has all the resources needed to engage in alluvial mining activities.
He said developers needed to do approved mining operations for the standard five-year term or the term of the licence and they could reapply for an extension or leave it for another developer to acquire.
Kau warned that any developer found to have breached approved alluvial mining practices could have its lease cancelled.
He said this after complaints from landowners in Bulolo, Morobe, recently regarding applicants applying for mining leases on their registered customary lands without their consent.
Landowner representatives Jimmy Saki and Gewasa Tukwund said they opposed applicants of mining leases on their land at the mining warden hearing because they wanted to participate in the venture or be guaranteed benefits for the use of their land.
They took this stance saying landowners always missed out on development taking place in their area.
Saki said the developers would then tell them they had a right to work and use the customary land because of their mining lease.
Kau said by law alluvial miners were allowed to use mechanised operations but needed special mining licences in order to use larger complex machinery such as excavators.
He urged landowners using such machinery to apply for the proper licence.
He said anyone, landowner or developer, engaged in unauthorised mining operations would be arrested and have their equipment seized by the state.
Kau added that awareness would be carried out in the district to educate people on the proper process to apply for mining licences.