12 November 2012

Liberia: Let the Mineral Law Be Reviewed


WELCOMING RECENTLY, THE Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy (MLME) launched the consultation process for the review and update of the Minerals and Mining Law.

THE CURRENT LAW which was introduced in 2000 has been described in many sectors, including the mining sector as lacking the ingredients to reflect present day challenges in the trade of minerals and in the welfare of miners.

LANDS, MINES AND Energy Minister, Patrick Sendolo said, "One of the key constraints in achieving our ambitions with respect to our mineral resources is the inadequacy of the legal and regulatory framework governing the mining sector, of which the Minerals and Mining Law of 2000 is a central part."

HE SAID THE Mineral and Mining Law is outdated and recent developments in the global and domestic mineral industry, including how mineral rights are exchanged and traded, pose new challenges in respect of achieving the objective of maximizing the benefits that flow to Liberian people from exploitation of the country's resources.

WE WELCOME THE recently held National Conference intended to review the Minerals and Mining Law of 2000 because this in our minds will ensure true fidelity to the principles of transparency, accountability and participation, and harmony with laws, regulations and policies which have been promulgated over the past few year.

THIS IS A known fact that Liberians especially the ordinary people have not been able to benefit from the vast conglomeration of minerals that had eluded the majority of the citizenry but had substituted it with poverty, misery, desperation, war, cynicism and despair.

COUPLED WITH THIS, there have been many controversies concerning the mining sector something that has also caused the international community to criticize us thus, leading to the Kimberly process. Let it be clear here that laws are not static but dynamic and as such, any law that comes into being especially the mining law must go along with international economic order.

WE FULLY AGREE with Minister, Sandolo that there is a need to review the mining and mineral law so as to reflect present day reality to benefit the citizens. In reviewing the law stakeholders must also ensure that the interest of the citizens becomes paramount and that it must also guide against practices that will bring changes for the benefit of the citizens who are the direct owners of the country's resources.

AS STATED EARLIER, the interest of the citizens must be the paramount concern of any law that will be reviewed because for so long, the direct owners of the land who are the ordinary citizens' interest have been overlooked.

THAT IS WHY we are welcoming the review of the mining and mineral law of Liberia to reflect present day reality and for the interest of the Liberian people to be guided.

WE ALSO CALL on stakeholders to ensure that the views of all Liberians including community members, local authorities, traditional leaders, women and youths, civil society organizations, private sector entities and also our international partners be heard and considered.

WITH THE INCLUSION of these people we believe that all sectors of the society will be involved in crafting a new law in which the citizens' interest will be protected and that the international community will have confidence in the process.

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