Attorney General blocks mineral resources bill 2022


THE Attorney General Chambers has blocked the Mineral Resources Bill 2022 after advisors submitted a draft bill, instead of drafting instruction.

Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification permanent secretary, Dr Christopher Vehe confirmed this to media last Friday.

Dr Vehe said there is a clear expectation and anticipation from the Chamber that drafters only submit drafting instruction and not draft bill.

“One issue causes this prolongation of having the bill to Cabinet.

“Instead for those that work put together all this consultations information into drafting instruction but move ahead to draft the bill,” he said.

Dr Vehe said when it reached the AG Chambers, it has its own position on that and the whole draft bill not taken on board.

He said it’s nothing to do with DCGA holding back on progressing the bill to Parliament.

“It’s all of this technicality we need to make proper,” he added.

MMERE has hired Professor William Kosar – a Canadian now living in Kenya – to help put the Bill together.

Dr Vehe said the legal advisor engaged again will arrived on Tuesday to really go through the drafting instruction.

He said all of this month to tidy up properly and should approach Cabinet next month.

“We really looking at two months to allow Cabinet to look at it,” he added.

According to Solomon Star, Prof Kosar described the Mineral Resources Bill as “shoes for Solomon Islanders’ feet”, when he met with media last year.

He said under the new Bill, mineral ownership of a mineral located in or on Solomon Islands land … waters is vested in the people and Crown (Government) regardless of:

“where … the mineral is located or whether the mineral is dissolved or suspended in … waters or located in the seabed or subsoil of those waters,” he said.

He stressed that in dealing with matters concerning minerals in Solomon Islands, the government “must at all times, act “on behalf of the people of Solomon Islands and in the best interests of her people.”

Prof William said the Bill was intended to address, among other things, “the natural resources world is rapidly changing as is the demand for minerals.”

Solomon Islands’ Mines and Minerals Act is now three decades old and “has failed to keep up to date with advancement in other sectors.”

The Bill also proposes setting up of a Mineral Resources Special Fund within the meaning of section 100(2) of the Constitution.

“The purpose of the Fund is to receive and hold payments made by holders of mining tenements into the Fund. The Fund shall be the principal depository for all revenue sourced from mineral exploration,” it said.

It shall be held by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

The Bill also proposes setting up a Solomon Islands Minerals Advisory Centre (SIMAC) to support landowners and communities by providing training, consultation and awareness activities and facilitating independent advice at all stages of the mining life cycle.

‘SIMAC shall have a permanent or semi-permanent presence in Provinces an communities where mining is taking place,” the notes said.

Women shall be “substantially” included in community level negotiations and decision-making regarding mining activities.

“Where possible, a community or landowner group will benefit from mine-related training, scholarships, employment or other similar benefits men and women will, as far as possible, shall have equal access to those benefits.

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