Resource owners will now have more to say in terms of developing their mineral resources following the release of the new National Minerals Policy 2017-2021.
Launched in Honiara, the Policy, which was tentatively endorsed by locally-based miner Axiom, has been created to provide a legal framework to guide the extraction of mineral resources in the country.
Acting Director of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification Thomas Toba told SIBC News the policy encouraged people’s participation in developing their mineral resources.
“There have been many improvements,” he said. “We now have some kind of a legal framework to guide the industry which was not present in the past.
“Another thing is people will realise that resource owners have a part to play in this; they have a voice in this industry compared to the past when they can only participate through signing of surface access agreements.
“At the launch of this policy they have more to say and more rights and more participation.”
Axiom Mining sustainable development general manager Dr Philip Tagini said the road ahead required a more collaborative effort from all stakeholders involved.
Speaking from an investor’s perspective, Dr Tagini, whose Australian company is looking to mine in the Isabel Province, said while he acknowledged the work done to formulate the policy, a collaborative effort was needed going forward.
Meanwhile, Mr Toba adds, provincial governments will also have a role to play under this new policy, saying an advisory group will also be established.
“Under this policy you will see that the Provinces also have a role to play and responsibilities as well as the setting up of an independent advisory group which has never been established in the past;
“This is where people can go with their complaints or seek negotiations when they actually don’t know what to ask for, so at this point of time this policy has the opportunity to give resource owners advise and guidance especially on what they should do.”