THE laws on mineral rights must be changed to give real ownership rights to the inhabitants of the land upon which the resources are found and extracted.
The mineral law gives rights of ownership to the State, and the State in turn delegates those ownership rights to the developer.
After the developer has fully exploited the resources and destroyed the surface land and all its natural surroundings, it gives the land back to the State who then hands it over to the local inhabitants in its useless, destroyed form, expecting the inhabitants to use it for subsistence survival.
In the whole equation, benefit proceeds are divided as 80 per cent to the developer and 20 per cent to the State.
For the landowner inhabitants, there is nothing.
All that happens is that out of the State’s 20 per cent, a mere 2 per cent is given as a ‘token’ to the local inhabitants.
So you see, there are ethical questions to ask on the formulae of benefits.
This also clearly shows that the local inhabitants (people) are not recognised as stakeholders at all.
The evidence of such unethical law and its aftermath consequence can be seen on Misima Island after the so-called gold mine project from 1989 to 2004.
Our policy experts have to start thinking seriously and give good advice to our parliamentarians to change the mining laws and the benefits formulae.
Reuben G. Elijah