MRD clarifies mine licence
Sikeli Qounadovu| The Fiji Times
THE Mineral Resources Department (MRD) says the consent of landowners is not needed for companies to obtain a mining exploration licence.
The MRD, however, states that landowners will need to be notified that exploration will be done to their land.
MRD official Isei Raiyawa made the clarification at a talanoa session with villagers in Namosi on Wednesday saying landowners’ consent will only be needed if a mining licence is applied for.
Mr Raiyawa was reacting to questions raised by Namosi villager Sipiriano Nariva on why when majority of landowners had agreed to the termination of the Special Prospecting License 1420 (SPL 1420) for the Namosi Joint Venture (NJV), Government still extended the licence for another five years.
“The mineral is owned by the State and consent from landowners is not needed when it comes to exploration. What should be done is they need to be notified, which we had done. This work being conducted by the NJV is still in its exploration stage and not mining.” Section 3 (1) of the Mining Act states that all minerals “shall be deemed always to have been, the property of the Crown (State).”
Furthermore section 26 (1) of the Mining Act states that the Director of the MRD has the prerogative to grant a prospecting licence over an area not exceeding 400 hectares.