EALA in fresh call for harmonised mineral policies

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), last week, reiterated the need for harmonisation of mineral policies and mining regimes as one of the efforts to increase competitiveness and value addition. 
Miners at Nyakabingo in Rulindo district. A draft technical report on rules and regulations governing extractive industries and mineral value addition has  been prepared by EALA.    Th....
Miners at Nyakabingo in Rulindo district. A draft technical report on rules and regulations governing extractive industries and mineral value addition has been prepared by EALA. Th....

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), last week, reiterated the need for harmonisation of mineral policies and mining regimes as one of the efforts to increase competitiveness and value addition. 

MP Isabelle Ndahayo [Burundi] tasked the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Shem Bagaine, to inform the House, among others, on “the steps so far taken to actualise these important measures with regard to the mining sector.”

Pursuant to the Treaty establishing the EAC [Chapter Nineteen], Partner States agree to, among others, take concerted measures to foster cooperation in joint and efficient management and sustainable use of natural resources for their mutual benefit.

Bagaine informed the August Assembly that with regard to the management of mineral resources, the five EAC countries agreed to promote joint exploration, efficient exploitation and sustainable utilisation of shared mineral resources; including pursuing the creation of an enabling environment for investment in the mining sector.

Own policies

The states are also supposed to harmonise mining regulations to ensure environmentally friendly and sound mining practices; and adopt common policies to ensure joint fossil exploration and exploitation along the coast and the rift valley zones.

Bagaine told lawmakers that each partner state has its own policy “and has put in place legislation to manage her own mineral resources.”

 “However, having recognised the great potential that mineral resources have in contributing to poverty alleviation and to national and regional economic development, the Partner States have decided to harmonise their mineral policies and laws.”

Areas to be considered during the harmonisation process include: access to and ownership of land; access to and ownership of minerals; mineral royalties to Government and communities; procedures to follow for Environmental Impact Assessments and monitoring of environmental plans; and taxation regimes.

“Since the EAC Partner States are at different stages of development of their national policies on minerals and mining regimes, there is need to take stock of what has been done in each country in order to harmonise the said policies and regimes,” Bagaine said.

A programme to facilitate the development of extractive and mineral processing industries is being formulated through technical support by the Commonwealth Secretariat, he said.

The objectives of the project include: review of regulations, policies and laws governing the extractive industries and mineral processing with a view to making such regulations more supportive of the development of extractive industries and mineral value addition.

Bagaine said that the bloc conducted a feasibility assessment of mineral resources in the region with potential for local value addition to create employment and ensure that East Africans derive maximum benefit.

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