MRA legislation for review


The Mineral Resources Authority Act 2005 was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday for an amendment to align it to serve the best interest of the people in view of major projects in the pipeline.
Mining Minister Johnson Tuke, who tabled the bill, said there were numerous calls for the act to be changed over the years.
He said the National Executive Council had endorsed the proposed amendment in 2011 and directed the First Legislative Counsel to draft a bill to effect the proposed amendments. Tuke said due to circumstances, the bill was withheld but was now being reintroduced.
He said the current act provided mandated functions and responsibilities of the authority.
However, there are changes and alignments that are necessary to improve the functions of the authority and to give effect to implement government policy directions, he said.
Tuke said among the factors that caused serious concerns since MRA’s start in 2007 was the high turnover of local professionals and skilled staff.
Added to that was the negative report by PwC (previously PriceWaterhouseCoopers) in 2010 on the overall management failures of MRA.
He claimed certain MRA board members had compromised their duties, responsibilities and employment obligations, and had` budgetary control to influence the effectiveness of MRA and limiting its full potential.
Tuke claimed board members’ direct involvement in the recruitment of senior staff comprised those staff, misconceived perception by industry representatives on the board that they had the mandate to control the receipt and applicant of the production levy.
He said the industry’s influence on the act to enable a pro rata rebate on surplus funds from the production levy could amount to double-dipping on government revenue.
Tuke said the lack of reporting structure of MRA placed a constraint on the implementation of government policies and directives directly by MRA.
“Changes have been proposed to rectify these concerns that have been identified favourable to the mining industry but not favourable to the state since its operations in July 2007,” he said.
“The amendment is to ensure that the MRA effectively carries out its mandated functions and ensures compliance through deterrence and the implementation of government policy directives.”