The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines has disclosed that government will be holding mining firms accountable for their community engagement plans which shall be registered through the office of the Registrar.
Spokesperson for mines in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Levy Undi, told Business News that the arrangement ensures that medium-scale and large mining licensees shall not commence mining operations on their tenement areas until their community engagement plans have been registered with the registrar.
“One of the new concepts the draft Mining Bill is proposing is that the holder of an exploration, retention, medium-scale mining or large-scale mining licence must develop a community engagement plan in collaboration with local government authorities, traditional leaders, communities, organisations, women and minority groups in the area in proximity to the tenement,” said Undi.
Undi said, among other things, “the plan shall at least include detailed strategies on conducting awareness programmes, community consultations and dissemination of information. It shall also contain a grievance mechanism to address concerns and issues relating to the licence holder’s operations and the process to be used in addressing these concerns and issues.”
He further said the ministry will split the mining licence into medium and large scale mining licences and also introduce small scale mining licences which are not provided for in the current Mines and Minerals Act of 1981.
He also added that the draft bill also proposes the introduction of a retention license that grants the holder the right to maintain the exclusive right to apply for a mining licence in the licence area when exploration has been completed but other specified conditions preclude mining at the present time.
“In assessing an application for a retention licence, we shall consider whether it has been demonstrated that the applicant has located a mineral deposit which is of commercial significance and the mineral deposit cannot justifiably be mined at the present time utilising proven technology for various reasons,” he said. n