Mineral Development Policy to promote socially responsible industry
The draft Mineral Development Policy (MDP) that the Cabinet approved this week, touches upon a gamut of issues especially promoting an environment-friendly and socially responsible mineral industry with strong value creation and growth.
The policy elucidates on the roles and responsibilities of different agencies concerning mining and related activities while for the purpose of leasing, minerals are classified into strategic, industrial and construction material.
The tenure of mining lease has been increased to the expected economic life of the mine or 30 years maximum to attract investment, encourage value addition and build investor confidence.
Mining environmental standards are also required to be strengthened through properly designed mine plan, environmental management and mitigation plan before the lease is issued.
Meanwhile, leaseholders will be required to adopt measures to manage and mitigate adverse impacts of mining on the affected communities and minimize social risks arising from mining activities.
To mitigate social risks, an acceptable social impact assessment and mitigation plans are required.
Further, the government will encourage and promote a broad based ownership in mining to share benefits from mining sector among the promoter, the nation and the affected local communities. The policy is expected to trigger positive reforms for the sector such as separation of policy and regulatory functions by forming the Mining Regulatory Authority (MRA), and adopting appropriate legal framework and guidelines. The policy will ultimately give direction to the amendment and overhauling of the Mines and Minerals Act 1995.
The draft was reviewed and discussed with all the relevant government agencies and stakeholders, taking into account the possible ramification on existing laws and rules.