Bill empowers regional states over mining
The House of People’s Representatives (HPR), on Thursday, approved a draft proclamation regulating the country’s mining sector and transactions empowering regional states with the right to grant and regulate mining and competency licenses.
The bill entitled ‘A Proclamation to Regulate Transaction of Minerals’ first appeared before the House last month,before referring it to the Natural Resource, Irrigation and Energy Affairs Standing Committee.
After revising the bill, the standing committee presented it back to the House noting that the members of the committee unanimously agreed that the bill has introduced an important provision which enables various sections of the society and the country, to benefit from its mining resources.
Based on the standing committee’s report, the bill encompasses a wider range of mining items in addition to what was proclaimed in the existing law which was confined to regulating specific mining types.
The previous proclamation merely legislated on mining transactions which are produced or processed only through traditional artisans, while it does not regulate the transaction of man types of minerals which includes industrial mineral,construction minerals, industrial semi-precious minerals and metallic minerals.
Unlike the previous one, the new proclamation will govern all transactions of minerals produced from all mining operations conducted within Ethiopia. This also includes those who are engaged in tantalum production and transaction. The former proclamation does not force tantalum producers or traders to get a license.
Furthermore, the new law designated new duties and responsibilities for regional states in regulating the sector in addition to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.
Among the Duties and responsibilities of the Ministry, for instance, it states that the ministry shall issue mineral refining, smelting for metallic and associated minerals, and issuance of mineral exporter certificates of competence while it is also responsible for setting and enforcing standards in which Smithery, lapidary, combining and refining activities are carried out.
It is also expected to approve and conduct inspections on whether a laboratory test is made on export and import of minerals, work together with relevant entities and set the price of minerals, if the price is not internationally determined, as well as determining the standard for the minerals to be exported.
Meanwhile, the duties and responsibilities of the licensing authority includes: issuance, renewal, and revoking of a license, and monitor the performance of the activities carried out. It is also required to establish a mineral market center subject to the importance of the mineral.
License and Certificate of Competence other than those mentioned in the provisions [which are stated among the duties and responsibilities of the ministry] shall be issued by Regional governments under the new law.
Under the provisions of exporting licenses, the new bill stipulates that Mineral Exporting license grant a right to the holder, to export gold and silver in their final shapes; raw, processed or semi processed precious or semi-precious minerals or other minerals in the raw form or after value addition. Meanwhile, it designates mineral exporting licenses to be issued separately for each type of minerals granted with certificate of competence.
Meanwhile, a holder of a mining license cannot be issued with any type of suppliers’ license. The rights under a supplier license issued to a holder of mining license prior to the coming into effect of this proclamation will lapse after 120 days of coming into effect of this proclamation.
Furthermore, the bill states, the types of licenses include: Mineral supplier license, Mineral crafting license, Mineral refining license, Mineral smelting license, Mineral Trade license and Mineral Exporting license.
As one of its main objectives, the new bill has introduced new provisions which demands stricter measures to be taken by license holders to ensure their mineral transaction scheme considers environmental and social protection principles in a sustainable manner. This provision is also accompanied with a heavy penalty for failure to insure environmental safety protections and social issues.