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Academics urge Cabinet to reconsider ‘damaging’  draft plans for national minerals management

Academics urge Cabinet to reconsider ‘damaging’ draft plans for national minerals management

TUESDAY, December 19, 2017
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A group of academics has urged the Cabinet to reconsider the draft national minerals management plans on the grounds that they contain many serious flaws, which they argue would cause wide-ranging damage to the country and citizens.

The Academics and People Network for Human Rights and Natural Resources Protection handed in a petition to the Cabinet and the prime minister at Government House on Tuesday, requesting reconsideration of the 20-year minerals management strategy and minerals management masterplan, which have already been approved by national minerals management policy committee and passed on to the Cabinet for consideration.
The petition – signed by 88 persons – highlights that the strategy and master plan are unlawful, lack proper public participation, and intentionally provide too much benefit for the mining companies, with the group warning that the overall plan would cause major damage to the people and the country if implemented.
According to the petition, these plans violate Articles 16 and 17 of the Minerals Act that require a database and survey of potential mining areas, which includes public participation, before drafting a master plan.
Moreover, the group points out that the draft plan also contains exceptions enabling the mining companies to not have to follow Articles 188 and 189 of the Act, with the exemption allowing them to open a mine without designating a buffer zone.
The petition also warns that when combining the minerals management masterplans with the new Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Bill, mine operators would be allowed to skip many necessary procedures, including environmental impact assessment and public participation for opening or expanding a mine, and that this would increase conflict in society and harm the interests of the people and the nation.