On 4 December 2019, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (Minister) published the Draft Mine Community Resettlement Guidelines (Resettlement Guidelines) for public comment.
The Resettlement Guidelines apply to existing prospecting rights, mining rights or mining permits where incremental project expansion will have the effect of displacement or resettlement of landowners, lawful occupiers, holders of informal and communal land rights, mine communities and host communities. Most notably, the Resettlement Guidelines make provision for the development of a Resettlement Plan, Resettlement Action Plan and Resettlement Agreement.
We set out below the most notable aspects of the Resettlement Guidelines.
The Resettlement Plan
Under the Resettlement Guidelines, the Resettlement Plan is a broader consultative document which is concerned with project description; impact analyses; costs and budgetary considerations and consultation mechanisms. In this regard, the affected stakeholders to be consulted will be informed by the nature and extent of the proposed operation and area specific considerations. In terms of the resettlement guidelines, an applicant or a holder of a prospecting right, mining right or mining permit must conduct stakeholder mapping to identify and profile stakeholders that must form part of the meaningful consultation process.
The Resettlement Action Plan
The Resettlement Action Plan is a document that lists what steps must be taken in order to achieve the goals set out in the Resettlement Plan. The purpose of the Resettlement Action Plan is to clarify what resources are required to reach the goal, formulate a timeline for when specific tasks need to be completed and determine what resources are required.
The Resettlement Action Plan, in summary, must:
- outline actions to be taken,
- identify responsible stakeholders, and
- set out applicable time frames.
The Resettlement Agreement serves to record in full all the commitments made by a mining right holder in the Resettlement Plan and the Resettlement Action Plan and it should outline rights and obligations of all parties to the agreement. In terms of the resettlement Guidelines, no mining activity may commence until a Resettlement Agreement is reached on the appropriate amount of compensation as a result of resettlement of landowners, lawful occupiers, holders of informal and communal land rights, mine communities and host communities.
As the Resettlement Guidelines were published by the Minister on 4 December 2019, the last day for public comment will be Tuesday, 7 January 2020 (with the 16th, 25th and 26th of December and the 1st of January all being public holidays).