FOR the first time, an extra provision in the final version of the Constitution gives any landowner the right to a fair share of royalties derived from the exploitation of resources beneath the surface.
The 2013 Constitution states that all minerals in or under any land or water are owned by the State, provided, however, that the owners of any particular land (whether customary or freehold), or of any particular registered customary fishing rights, shall be entitled to receive a fair share of royalties or other money paid to the State in respect of the grant by the State of rights to extract minerals from that land or the seabed in the area of those fishing rights.
As previously flagged by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, in addition, for the first time, an extra provision gives any landowner the right to a fair share of royalties derived from the exploitation of resources beneath the surface.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said wherever people extracted minerals from, whoever was the landowner had to get a fair share of the royalties the government gets.
In the final document, a written law may determine the framework for calculating fair shares, taking into account all relevant factors, including:
* any benefits that the owners received or may receive as a result of mineral exploration or exploitation;
* the risk of environmental damage;
* any legal obligation of the State to contribute to a fund to meet the cost of preventing, repairing or compensating for any environmental damage; and
* the cost to the State of administering exploration or exploitation rights.