Government Faces Demands in Mineral Resource Development

The government faces a significant challenge if it seeks to fulfill the demands of landowning groups involved in mineral resource development.

Recently, landowners from Navuniivi, Ra, and Namosi have presented their demands to the government regarding mineral resources.

Landowners from Navuniivi are opposing the ongoing publication of their land for mineral exploration. In Namosi, where copper exploration is taking place, landowners are demanding a 50 percent stake in the province’s mineral development activities. Meanwhile, at Votua Village in Ba, where iron ore extraction is ongoing, landowning groups are seeking 100 percent of the royalty shares, citing the negative impacts of the projects on their land.

The villagers of Votua suggest the government could reduce its royalty share to increase the percentage for landowning units. Amex Resources Limited was granted a 21-year mining lease in 2012 to extract iron sands from the Ba River delta, which belongs to the vanua o Votua. In their submission regarding the Mineral Exploitation and Exploration Bill, the villagers are asking for their royalty share to be increased from 80 percent to 90 percent, reducing the government’s share from 20 percent to 10 percent.

“The government can always find other incentives from mining companies given the application fee set by the department to obtain licenses and permits,” said the Votua landowning units.

**Devil in the Detail**

Votua villagers stated that developers in the mineral resource sector must collaborate with the government to provide villagers with trade skills. This condition is part of their agreement for mineral resource development on their land. Landowners also want the government to recognize their investment plans regarding mineral resources. Additionally, they requested that the font size of license renewal notices be increased for better visibility and understanding.


There are no clear indications or specific guidelines for royalty calculations. According to the Fair Share of Mineral Royalties Act 2018, “any royalty must be distributed with 20 percent going to the government and 80 percent to the owner.”

Landowners have expressed concerns about the unfair distribution of royalties among villagers. “For a period of 12 years under the operation of the license, they have not received the full benefit,” they stated.


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