Landowners Demand Fair Share in Mineral Resource Development

The Government faces significant challenges in addressing the demands of landowning units involved in mineral resource development.

In recent days, landowners from Navuniivi, Ra, and Namosi have presented their demands concerning mineral resources development to the Government. Navuniivi landowners are particularly upset about the ongoing publication of their land for mineral exploration.

In Namosi, where copper exploration is taking place, landowners are calling for a 50 percent share in decision-making concerning mineral development activities in their province.

At Votua Village in Ba, where iron ore extraction is occurring, landowners are demanding 100 percent royalty shares, arguing they bear the negative impacts of these projects. As an alternative, Votua villagers suggested that the Government reduce its share of royalties to increase the percentage for landowning units.

Amex Resources Limited was given 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 on the Mineral Exploitation and Exploration Bill, Ba villagers requested an increase in royalty allocation from 80 percent to 90 percent for the landowners, 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 Votua landowning units.

Developers in the mineral resource sector will need to collaborate with the Government to train villagers in trades, according to Votua villagers. This is part of the agreement if mineral resource development is to proceed on their land. Additionally, landowners want the Government to acknowledge their investment plans concerning mineral resources development.

“The notice of renewal of licenses must be printed in a larger font to ensure readers can understand and stay informed about the current situation,” Votua villagers stated.

There are unclear guidelines for calculating royalties, with no specific instructions provided. The Fair Share of Mineral Royalties Act 2018 specifies that “any royalty must be distributed with 20 percent going to the Government and 80 percent to the owner.”

“Landowners have raised concerns about unfair distribution of royalties among the villagers,” they submitted. “For the 12 years of the license’s operation, they have not received the full benefit.”


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