Na­somo landown­ers re­ceive min­ing roy­alty pay out

Fiji Sun - - BUSINESS - CHARLES CHAM­BERS Feed­back: charles.cham­bers@fi­jisun.

Gov­ern­ment has so far paid out $6.5 mil­lion in min­eral roy­alty fair share to the Na­somo Landown­ers Trust in Vatuk­oula.

Min­is­ter for Lands and Min­eral Re­sources, Jone Us­mate, while hand­ing out pay­ments to 123 mem­bers of the trust, said Gov­ern­ment was do­ing its best to re­build and re­store Fiji, amidst the global pan­demic cri­sis.

“The gov­ern­ment has moved swiftly with great wis­dom in en­coun­ter­ing the loss in econ­omy, loss of em­ploy­ment and its’ rip­ple ef­fects by redi­rect­ing new ways of norms that are re­flected in the Gov­ern­ment Bud­get of 2020 – 2021,” Mr Usa­mate said.

The pay­out is for gold and sil­ver mined from be­neath Na­somo land for the pe­riod March 2020 to May 2020, with a to­tal of ap­prox­i­mately $61,650 to be eq­ui­tably dis­trib­uted. The pay­out is in ac­cor­dance with Sec­tion 5 of the Fair Share of Min­eral Roy­al­ties Act 2018, which stip­u­lates that 80 per cent of min­eral roy­al­ties be given to landown­ing units or cus­tom­ary fish­ing rights hold­ers, with 20 per cent re­tained by the State.

Of the money paid out to mem­bers of the trust, $522,000 was paid to the trust to date, with $1.6 mil­lion re­tained by the State.

“Dur­ing my visit to the mine in April this year, I was briefed that the mine had made sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal in­vest­ments to mod­ern­ize the mine in­fra­struc­ture, im­prove un­der­ground work­ing con­di­tions, en­sure cost-ef­fec­tive power gen­er­a­tion and im­prove its gold re­cov­ery or milling process,” Mr Usa­mate said.

Cap­i­tal in­ten­sive

“Given the cap­i­tal-in­ten­sive and volatile na­ture of min­ing, the sup­port of rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing landown­ers is im­por­tant in the suc­cess of such projects.” Mr Usa­mate said he had vis­ited min­ing projects in the West and the North, in­clud­ing the ex­plo­ration projects.

“Dur­ing the coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) pan­demic, the min­ing sec­tor has shown its re­silience in con­tribut­ing to Fiji’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery,” he said.

Mean­while, Rai­jiel Dru­dre, 50, and Sere­ana Vuso, 59, mem­bers of the trust, thanked Gov­ern­ment for their con­tin­ued sup­port.

Mrs Vuso said money re­ceived would be shared equally by her and her three sib­lings and their fam­i­lies.

Aporosa Labavaka­tini, 73, who has been col­lect­ing his roy­alty since 2018, said Gov­ern­ment had as­sisted the trust mem­bers with the pay­out.

Photo: Charles Cham­bers

Women wait­ing for their roy­alty pay­out in Vatuk­oula.

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