SOTP2016 - Policy Approaches to Large-scale Mining in the Western Pacific

Hon Robin Wilson MP presenting at SOTP2016 conference. Image SSGM

Recent years have seen major reviews and reforms to mining policy and legislation being undertaken in Papua New Guinea the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) and Solomon Islands. Perhaps the most significant of these is in the ARB where the Bougainville Mining Act (2015), one of the first major laws to be enacted since the transfer of a suite of powers to the Autonomous Bougainville Government under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (2001), represents a significant step towards the possible recommencement of large-scale mining on the island. In Papua New Guinea, a suite of policies have been under review, arguably the most important being the development of new policy and legislation in relation to off-shore mining. Solomon Islands’ mining policy and legislation is comparatively the least developed, reflecting the much smaller scale of its mining industry. However, in the context of an anticipated intensification in large-scale mining activity and growing recognition of the limitations of the existing legislative framework, the Solomon Islands Government is currently undertaking a major review of mining policy and legislation. The purpose of this session is twofold. First it will provide updates on these review and reform agendas with a particular focus on their objectives and intended outcomes. Second it will explore the scope for sharing of knowledge and experience between these three neighbouring Melanesian jurisdictions and ask whether there may also be broader lessons to be drawn for other countries in the region, such as Fiji, or for regional approaches to the governance of large-scale mining.

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