Fiji: Law sets ground for mining consent

nickel mine

Luke Rawalai | The Fiji Times | September 8, 2016

THE Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources will only seek the 60 per cent consensus from landowning units (mataqali) for the mining of minerals as required of them by law.

Responding to concerns raised by the Bua Urban Youth (BUY) network on the non-involvement of yavusa (clans) for the procurement of such consensus, the ministry’s deputy secretary Malakai Nalawa said the law was silent on the involvement of clans in the gathering of consensus.

Mr Nalawa said they were obliged by law to approach the mataqali rather than the whole yavusa to obtain 60 per cent consent from its registered members in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB).

“iTaukei land, on which bauxite development is undertaken in Bua, is owned by individual mataqali which constitute the yavusa,” he said.

“However, the respective clan heads are also consulted for their support, in their capacity as the chief, to reinforce the consent of the landowning unit, which are components of their clans.

“Consent of the yavusa will only be sought if in the event the land is owned by the yavusa.”

Mr Nalawa said this meant that the land was owned by all the mataqali registered under that yavusa and therefore 60 per cent consent of the total members of all the mataqali registered under that yavusa, would be required to be procured.

“We, as a Government agency, will always respect our iTaukei institution as it is mandated by law to do so,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement BUY said all the appropriate approach to obtaining consent involved consulting everyone who would be impacted including clans who were part of the iTaukei social structure.

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Filed under Fiji, Human rights

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