Tuesday, August 5, 2014

GBMGA expresses observation over Draft Mining Concession Rule

Gilgit: The Gilgit Baltistan Minerals and Gem Association has expressed serious reservation over the draft GB Mining Concession Rule 2014, an statement said.

According to the statement,  an emergent Meeting of the General Body of the Gilgit Baltistan Metals Minerals & Gems Association  (GBMMGA) was held at its Head Office in Gilgit  on 6th July 2014 under the president ship of Mr. Shehbaz Khan Chairam The meeting  discussed  the Draft GB Mining Concession Rules 2014 proposed by the GB Council in detail.  The Meeting  showed its great concern and serious reservations on these Rules and unanimously passed the  following resolution:
1.        That the meeting terms  the present Draft Mining Concession Rules  2014 proposed by the GB Council, a fueling step  for  uprising against the colonial policy of Ministry of K & GB Islamabad to deprive the  people of GB from their economical constitutional and political rights prevailing since 67 years.

2.      That the meeting observed with with great concern that the subject of Minerals remained under  the domain of Provinces of Pakistan and AJK since 1973 & 1974.  The 18th Amendment of Constitution of I.R of Pakistan has given the Concurrent List Subjects to the Provinces  which were falling under  the domain of Federal Government previously,  to ensure  provincial autonomy. Even, the Government of Northern Area & the NA Legislative Assembly was empowered to deal with the affairs of the subject of Minerals under the NA Governance Order 1994. But it is a matter of surprise that contrary to claims  of  Federation of Pakistan   giving  people of Gilgit Baltistan   a complete local autonomy , empowerment and self governance under the GB Governance Order 2009 , even main revenue   generating subjects including the  Minerals falling previously under the domain of Northern Areas Administration in 1994,  have been given under the clutches of  even less than half represented Gilgit Baltistan Council based in Islamabad.

3.      That the  United Nations in its Universal Declaration (Agenda 21: Chapter 26) titled "Recognizing and Strengthening the Role of Indigenous People and their Communities" has called on Governments to recognize that the lands of indigenous people and their communities should be protected from activities that the indigenous people consider to be socially and culturally inappropriate through adoption or strengthening of appropriate policies and /or legal instruments at the national level (or intergovernmental organizations) . Government of Pakistan being a signatory to this declaration has the moral responsibility to harmonize the ownership rights prevailing in customary laws of Gilgit Baltistan to protect the rights of indigenous local people to evolve indigenous population friendly rules.

4.      That the constitution of Pakistan as well as National Mineral Policy  1995  & 2014 has  declared the subject of Minerals purely to be a Provincial subject for legislation &  executive purposes; however this has not yet been included in the legislative list allowed to Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly. The Claus 2 of  the National Mineral Policy   also declares  the “Minerals” as Provincial subject and   focused that all activities and decision making in this regard  shall be taken at the provincial level.
But the  proposed   Mining Concession Rules  2014 drafted by the Gilgit Baltistan Council  is a total negation of the facts mentioned above  . Rather in these  draft Rules:
·          The   executive and legislative powers of Government of Gilgit Baltistan has been taken away. The powers exercised by a Director as Licensing Authority  & Chief Secretary  as Appellate Forum of Government of Gilgit Baltistan stationed  at  Gilgit  has been proposed to be assign  to  the Secretary GB Council  as Licensing Authority  & Minister In Charge  GB Council as Appellate Forum based in Islamabad,   which infect, is a serious joke in the present democratic society  of decentralization and devolution of  powers all over the world including Pakistan where the Federating Units have been given complete provincial autonomy. No doubt these  rules drafted by GB Council is a straight  slap on the face of the conceptual claim of Federation of Pakistan that the people of Gilgit Baltistan have been given  complete  Empowerment & Self Governance.
·         That  the  rights of local inhabitants of the sites having mineral deposits, not been protected at all in this draft Rules. Even the  nationals of Pakistan have been brought at par with the people of GB by giving  them equal rights enjoyed by  the people of GB with special reference to grant of EL/ML, employment and even in  training programmes .

·         That the  Preferential rights of the Local Entrepreneurs with regard to award of ELs & MLs has not been guaranteed .

·         That  the powers given to GB Council  to sign “Mining Agreements “   at Islamabad with any person”   having no limitation of area and the minerals   in the name of “Substantial Foreign Investment”,   is the same methodology adapted previously by the rulers  of the African  & Latin American countries  as  a source of corruption to plunder the mineral resources  by opening doors for Multi National Companies and Foreign Entrepreneurs   in the name of Foreign Investment  resulting cleansing of the whole precious minerals just  in few years which was enough for  centuries   if  locals extracted  by themselves for centuries.  Such kind of  notorious and admittedly unsuccessful Mineral Policy  would be a complete disaster for GB if approved. The 100% income and profit from the sale of raw material as well as value added product would go into the pocket of foreign investor and only peanut amounts in the shape of salaries  & daily wages would go  to locals as low paid employees and laborers just for few years, if titles given foreigners directly.  

·          That it is astonishing to note here that even the commonly used Sand and Gravel in GB for construction purposes, a source of earning of hundreds of families in low level as well,   has also been proposed to  get through  grant of leased issued  by the Secretary GBC sitting in Islamabad. This act could result law & order situation in GB if not done away at the  earliest. 

The Gilgit Baltistan Metals & Minerals Association (GBMMGA) is of the considered opinion that such kind of “colonial approach” towards  the region of Gilgit Baltistan and its people even in this 21st century  is not only an attempt to  usurping  of powers of local authorities of Government of Gilgit Baltistan but also a deliberate attempt to   deprive the local people from their fundamental rights to utilize  their  natural resources  as owners enjoying since centuries  under  customary laws and traditions.
Such kind of  actions to snatch  “rights & powers ” by the  GB Council  Islamabad shall  not only confront the  larger interest of State of I R of Pakistan in this sensitive region but would also be a violation of  UNO Charter &  judgment / orders of the Supreme Court Of Pakistan given in 1999 (1999 SCMR 1379).
The most recent categorical stance  taken by the Ministry of K& GB Affairs on the status of Gilgit Baltistan     declaring the Gilgit Baltistan  as “not a constitutional Part of Pakistan being a disputed territory before the Standing Committee of the Parliament , has confirmed that    the GB Council is actually and factually   second face of K&GB Ministry Islamabad thus having  no moral and legal authority  to exercise  remote controlled powers  to  conduct activities and making decisions to award & cancel the MLs  &  ELs of natural  wealth located in  Gilgit Baltistan from a distance of 650 km at Islamabad.
-         Thus the Gilgit Baltistan Metals Minerals & Gems Association (GBMMGA) totally rejects these  rules    drafted with a malafide intention    to  shift  all powers in this regard from Gilgit to Islamabad. The meeting    declared these rules against the larger interest of the people  and the region of Gilgit Baltistan thus refusing to accept at ll.

-         The GBMMGA  demands that an amendment in the Gilgit Baltistan (Empowerment & Self Governance) Order 2009 be made forth with to include the subject of Minerals, and other natural resources of  Hydropower, Forest and Tourism in the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly  List   enabling the  Executive Authority of Gilgit Baltistan to  exercise its powers in this regard to avoid any future  political complications.

Let  the then GB Legislative Assembly to enact laws in this regard by safeguarding rights of people  here  and  in the larger interest of the Region of Gilgit Baltistan.
 Till then,   NA MCR 2003   & the Draft GB Mining Concession Rules 2014 submitted by the GB Government  Mineral Secretariat  should prevail with the following changes and amendments to be made on emergency footings:

                        PROPOSED AMMENDMENTS:
All  MLs /ELs/RLs/MDRLs  shall be  issued by the concerned Licensing Authority after getting approval from the  Minister In Charge of the GB Government being administrative head of the Minerals Department in terms of GB Rules of Business 2009.

The Secretary Minerals GB Government will be the Licensing Authority to  grant the Mining Leases on the recommendation of Evaluation Committee.

The Director Minerals  will be the Licensing Authority to grant the Mining Leases on the recommendation of Evaluation Committee

The Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan shall be the Appellate Forum to adjudicate the appeals against the orders of Licensing Authorities.

To ensure transparency in grant of , The EL,MDL and ML there shall be an “ Evaluation Committee” comprising Technical Officials of Directorate Minerals and a nominee of GBMMGA in case of applications  for grant of  Metals & Industrial Minerals and APGMA in case of Gems. This Evaluation Committee shall be headed by the Director Minerals.

There shall be an Evaluation Committee for grant of Mining Leases comprising Technical officials of Mineral Directorate, Technical officials from the Minerals Secretariat and nominees of GBMMGA  for Metals & Industrial Minerals & the APGMA  for Gems. This committee shall be headed by the Secretary Minerals.

The applicants desirous to get title for Metals & Minerals shall have to be member of GBMMGA and  in case of   Gems,  be member of APGMA. The Section 93 of MRC 2003 be implemented in letter and spirit.

The Directorate of Minerals shall entertain only those applications for Grant of       ML/EL/RL and MDRL having “Agreements with the Local Community of the Mineral Deposit area.

In addition to agreed terms of royalty/cess to be paid by the Licensee or Lease holder   to  the  local community, the Government should also fix  some percentage of share to the Local Community from the Royalty received from the ML/EL holders

The Lease Holders shall be bound to take active part in the social development of the Mining area in case of successful mining operations.

There shall be a ban on sale or transfer of ML/EL etc by the local Lease or  License Holder  to  any other Pakistan national or foreign national.

                        12   TOP PRIORITY  TO  LOCAL  ENTERPRENUERS
In case of more than one applications for the same area by a Pakistan  national and the Local Entrepreneur, the application of local entrepreneur shall be considered /preferred and the EL/ML be granted accordingly.


       The Foreign Nationals & the Entrepreneurs shall  not be given EL or ML 
       directly. The  EL or ML be given to the locally registered Joint Venture with
       the Foreign Nationals  having a share of at least 50% to the local partner.

The ELs & MLs may be granted to only those Pakistan National applicants who furnish guarantee to establish Processing Plants of applied metals/ minerals .

                         15  MAXIMUM AREA OF  ML/EL/RL/MDL
The Area for ML should not exceed 25 Sq Km and the EL/RL/MDRL should not exceed 100 Sq  KM.

Keeping in view of peculiar topographic as well as fragile situation in GB and to stop illegal transport of Gems from GB   giving loss to exchequer, the ML be issued to the specifically established Cooperative Societies or Entrepreneurs of the Locality having Gems Deposit or those Local Entrepreneurs of GB having agreements with those gems mines localities.  UNQUOTE

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