Sudhakar: Provide evidence

Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Ashneel Sudhakar. Picture: FT FILE

INDIVIDUALS or groups challenging the payment of royalties to landowners should provide evidence, says Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Ashneel Sudhakar.

He said the royalty payments made for the use of mineral resources on native land were given under the instructions of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs.

“They have to show us the evidence,” he said.

“The royalty payments that we are making to landowners like those in Nasomo (in Vatukoula) were done through consultations with the iTaukei Affairs which gave us the list of the landowning units for mining companies like the Vatukoula Gold Mine.

“Through that list, we have the names of each member of the mataqali and from there the landowning unit is paid the royalty.

“Someone who challenges this process should be able to back it up with evidence.”

Two royalty payments of more than $100,000 have been made so far to the Nasomo landowners this year.

Mr Sudhakar said the payments would be made in every quarter to each landowning unit in accordance with the Fair Share Royalty Act.

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