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Government pays out mineral royalty

 

Nov 08, 2018 02:31:42 PM

Government pays out mineral royalty In a historic first for Fiji and the region, the people of Nasomo in Vatukoula have become the first landowners to be paid a fair share of royalty for their mineral resources.

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Faiyaz Koya while handing out cheques to 100 landowners on Tuesday afternoon said the occasion marks the right of landowners to a fair share of mineral royalties.

He said while royalties have usually been retained by the State as owners of minerals under the Mining Act, these payments at Nasomo follow the passing of legislation in the May sitting of Parliament that gives effect to Section 30 of the Constitution to allow the sharing of royalty.

 “This is the new way of benefit sharing in mineral development in our beloved country where mineral royalty is shared equitably amongst landowners for the betterment of all concerned,” Minister Koya said.

“This proves Government’s continuous effort to care for landowners in the utilization of their land and in this instant, for the added benefit fir the provision of land for mining, whether directly on the surface or indirectly.”

Nasomo Landowners secretary, Taito Koroi described the occasion as a milestone.

 “The fair share royalties distribution between the Government of Fiji and landowners where minerals are discovered within their lands marks one of the biggest breakthroughs for the I Taukei,” he said.

 "We the landowners of Nasomo are fortunate to be the first recipients of the Fair Share of Mineral Royalties Bill with 80 % of royalty is for landowners and 20 % for Government."

 This royalty payments at Nasomo is for gold mining carried out by Vatukoula Gold Mine Limited, which had initially paid mining royalty to the Mineral Resources Department.

 It is also amongst a series of payments to be made depending on the minerals being mined by the company.

By Reginald Chandar

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