Note from the Minister for Lands, Mining and Energy
The primary aim of this policy paper is to provide investors with a clear, stable and transparent policy guide to investing in Fiji's mineral sector. The Mineral Resources Department (MRD) has always recognised the need to clarify its mineral policy, and was encouraged to expedite the production of a mineral policy statement by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Trade and Public Enterprise who, earlier in 1996, produced Fiji's first general Investment Policy Statement.
When compiling this policy paper, MRD attempted to provide responses to the questions most frequently asked by investors where the intention of the legislation is not clear. The majority of questions MRD receives are about licence terms and conditions, security of tenure, land rights, taxes and incentives, so the sections dealing with these issues form the bulk of the policy paper.
As part of the policy formulation process, other Government Ministries, Departments, and Statutory Authorities were consulted regularly to ensure that this policy reflects the real situation in Fiji. Once the Government policy stance was clarified, the consultative process took into account suggestions from the mining industry locally and overseas, as well as comments from regional donor country Governments, multilateral aid agencies and other interested parties both inside and outside of Fiji. Indeed, our thanks go out to all those who contributed to the development of this policy statement at the various stages.
In most cases the policy reflects the policy that exists at present or the policy that is in the process of being implemented, as is the case for the Sustainable Development Policy. Essentially, this means that this policy document reflects Fiji's long term policy position. The only exception to this is the fiscal policy section.
Over the past 2 years the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, under guidance from the Foreign Investment Advisory Services of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, has been working on a review of company taxation, and on the incentives structure in Fiji. The internal review of Fiji's company taxation was completed earlier in 1996 and the recommendations therein are currently under consideration. A number of the recommendations made will affect Fiji's mineral sector, consequently this review has already been discussed with the Mineral Resources Department and the local mining industry. The discussions that have ensued have led to consensus being reached on all elements of a new more competitive mineral sector fiscal policy. The next step is for Government to implement the recommended changes. The implementation process is likely to span 1997, 1998, and 1999.
The only caveat to this policy is that the policies stated herein pertain only to one aspect of Fiji's mineral sector, namely, those minerals defined in the Glossary.
If you have any queries about the contents of this policy paper, please address them
to: The Director of Mines, Mineral Resources Department, Private Mail Bag, GPO, Suva,
Hon. Timoci W. Vesikula