08 September 2013

Draft Mining Law consultation starts

Lee blog ida ne'e iha Tetum.

Update, June 2014: MPRM told La'o Hamutuk that they have changed their plans, and there will NOT be any public consultation on this law in Dili. They expect to send it to the Council of Ministers soon.

Timor-Leste's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (MPRM) has been talking with people around the country about a proposed law and code to license and regulate mining operations in the country.  The first consultation was in Oecusse on 26 August, and another will take place in Suai on 25 September. La'o Hamutuk is circulating the draft law through this posting, and we encourage people to study it and offer suggestions.

Mining operations create problems for people all over the world. Although they may provide income for governments and transnational companies, they often result in environmental destruction; displacement; pollution of land, air and water; human rights violations; conflict; war and other devastating consequences for people living near or downstream from the mines.

Experience shows that effective regulation is essential (although not always sufficient) to reduce damage and protect people's rights. Given the intrinsic non-sustainability of mining activities (which use up non-renewable mineral resources in order to provide cash), it is always challenging to minimize their negative impacts. We hope that effective public consultation -- together with the willingness of the Government and Parliament to listen -- can help Timor-Leste enact legislation which will protect our people's short- and long-term interests.

In November 2008, the State Secretariat for Natural Resources created an
association of Timor-Leste's traditional leaders (lia nain) who symbolically
handed over the right to explore for minerals to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
La'o Hamutuk scanned the English translation of the draft law and associated 178-article draft Mining Code, which you can download as a PDF or Word file. MPRM has also provided Portuguese and Tetum versions.

MPRM has not yet asked for written submissions, and we hope that they will consider input from knowledgeable people, especially those who have experience with mining operations.  The risks are too high to ignore lessons already learned all over the world. La'o Hamutuk welcomes comments and suggestions to improve the submission we will write (please send them to laohamutuk@gmail.com), and we encourage people and organizations to send their own comments to Minister Alfredo Pires. La'o Hamutuk is happy to web-publish any submissions and analyses which are shared with us.

The preamble to the draft law reads as follows:
The regulation of the activities pertaining to the carrying out of Mineral Operations, including the prospecting, exploring, evaluating, processing, mining and marketing of minerals is of the utmost importance to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. These activities can have a major impact in securing the supply of materials needed for the development, economic growth and prosperity of the country.
The existing rudimentary legal framework needs to be urgently replaced, and a new set of rules put in place for the purposes of regulating the carrying out of Mineral Operations and other forms of exploration that involve the use of industrial facilities, as well as for the purposes of regulating the sale of minerals in both the domestic and international markets.
Therefore, with the approval of this Law, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste moves forward in the setting up of a modern regulatory legal framework, providing the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources with an integrated framework for the effective regulation of authorizations for prospecting and mining operations in the country, including the administrative procedural rules for the granting of licenses and permits to entities and legal persons wishing to carry on said operations, the definition of concession areas, the rights and obligations of all parties involved, as well as the rules on inspection and supervision of Mineral Operations, the sanctions and penalties applicable in case of non-compliance with the duties set forth herein and specific rules pertaining to the protection of the environment and to payment of taxes related thereto.
With the above in mind, the purpose of this Law is to encourage and facilitate the discovery and development of mineral resources in Timor-Leste, having regard to the need of encouraging ecologically sustainable development, and in particular, to recognize and foster the significant social and economic benefits to the country that may result from the efficient development of mineral resources and to ensure an appropriate return to the State from exploitation of the same.
La'o Hamutuk hopes that the enacted version of this long and complex Code will prioritize its goal of "ecologically sustainable development" over the desire to hastily convert mineral wealth into cash.


  1. Loron diak,
    Hau ata atu husu informacao se ita bot sira hatene bainhira mak halao konsulta publika iha Dili?
    Obrigado wa'in ba informacao.

    1. Loron diak mos ba maun, LH akompania segundu no terseiru konsultasaun publiku ba ezbosu lei mineral ninian iha distritu no same iha loron 25 no 27 Setembru 2013 no tuir informasaun ne'ebe ami hetan hosi Sra. Elga Diretora Nasional Minerais hosi MPRM katak konsultasaun publiku ba tinan ida ne'e sei hala'o deit iha distritu hat; Oekuse, Suai, Same no Maliana. Kona ba distritu Dili no distritu sira seluk sei hahu iha 2014. tanba ne'e ami mos seidauk hetan orario fixu ba konsultasaun publiku iha Dili. ami mos espera katak ita bele hola parte iha konsultasaun tuir mai no fo input diak ba ezbosu lei ida ne'e. Obrigado

    2. Loron diak ba LH,
      Obrigadu wa'in tebes ba ita bot sira nia resposta. Hein katak LH bele kontinua fo nafatin update kona ba konsulta publika ida ne. Hau ata agradese mos karik LH bele tau iha website ida ne point-point ka diskusaun importante hirak nebe maka komunidade sira hato'o selama konsulta publika ida, hodi nune'e publiko mos bele akompanha nafatin hanoin husi publik. Husu mos, se bele, wainhira LH hetan ona orariu fixo ba konsulta publiku, bele tau iha website ida ne no karik bele mos fo avisu iha radio no televisaun, hodi nune bele hetan participasaun bo'ot husi publika. Karik mos importante atu buka meius atu involve publik sira nebe mak iha konesimentu iha area juridika, ambiente, geologia, insinyur pertambangan, empresarius, sosiolog, ekonomista, administrador distritus no seluk tan,hodi nune ita hotu bele hanoin hamutuk e fo komentario ba esbosu lei mineral ida ne atu nune lei ida ne bele reflekta kenyataan e mos bele implementa iha ita nia rai doben Timor Leste. Husi hau ata nia parte, hau ata sei kontinua fo hau ata nia hanoin liu husi media no wainhira iha konsulta publika iha Dili no iha distritu seluk. Hau ata mos la haluha atu hato hau ata nia parabens ba ekipa nebe mak prepara ona esbosu lei ida ne no ba equipa MPRM mak halo ona sosializasaun iha distritus balun no mos equipa LH nebe mak fahe esbocu lei ida ne no mos publika update iha website ida ne. Mai ita hotu fo hanoin ida nebe mak konstutivu ba esbosu Lei mineral ida no sucesu ba ita hotu. Obrigadu.

  2. The mining code, significantly revised, was approved by the Council of Ministers a couple of weeks ago and is now pending parliamentary enactment. There were no further public consultations since 2013, and none of the revised drafts were made public, in spite of several requests from La'o Hamutuk throughout the last two years. We hope that Parliament is more consultative and transparent about enacting this law, rather than the misrepresentations and distortions about public consultation the Government boasted about in http://timor-leste.gov.tl/?p=15965&lang=en