Public Business. - Minerals Development Bill, 1940—From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 1:—

Section 8. After sub-section (4), page 8, a new sub-section added as follows:—

(5) Every prospecting licence shall contain a clause requiring the licensee thereunder to exercise the rights conferred on him by such licence in such manner as not to interfere unnecessarily with the amenities of the locality in which are situate the land and minerals the subject of such licence.

The object of this amendment is to make provision for the preservation of amenities. Ordinarily, in the conduct of mining operations, every effort will be made to secure that the amenities of the neighbourhood will be preserved, and there seems to be no objection to setting out expressly in the Bill the obligation of preserving them as far as possible.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 2:—

Section 17. In sub-section (4), page 11, line 38, before the word "makes" the words "either wilfully or recklessly" inserted.

These words were inserted following a suggestion made by Deputy Cosgrave.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 3:—

Section 19. In sub-section (1), page 11, line 50, the word "acquired" deleted.

Sub-section (1) of Section 19, as it stands, enables ancillary rights to be acquired for the working of State-acquired minerals only. Ancillary rights may also be required for the working of other State minerals, that is to say, State mining rights already vested in the State. It is accordingly necessary to delete the word "acquired".

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 4:—

In sub-section (2), page 12, before paragraph (d), a new paragraph inserted as follows:—

(d) such order may contain a provision requiring that, in carrying such order into effect, all persons charged with the execution thereof shall have due regard to the amenities of the locality in which are situate the land or ancillary right acquired by such order;

This amendment is consequential on the amendment to Section 8.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 5:—

Section 23. In sub-section (1), paragraph (d), page 14, line 20, after the word "thereunder" the words "and, in particular, requiring the licensee under any such licence, in exercising the rights conferred thereby, to have due regard to the amenities of the locality in which is situate the subject matter of such licence;" added.

This amendment is also consequential on the amendment to Section 8.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 6:—

Section 26. In sub-section (3), page 16, immediately after the word "lease" in line 4 the words "and what (if any) covenants or conditions should be contained in such lease" inserted.

Under sub-section (2) (b) of this Section 26 the Minister has power to insert in a State mining lease such conditions as he may consider proper in the public interest. Under sub-section (3) of the same section he is charged expressly with the obligation of taking into consideration the general advantages that are likely to accrue to the State from the development of minerals demised by a lease. It has been suggested that the conservation of minerals for use within the State as raw materials for industries which are or may be established within the State is so important that it should be specially mentioned in the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (3), page 16, at the end of the sub-section, line 7, the words "and also the extent to which it is desirable, in the public interest, that any of the minerals raised under such lease should be conserved for use within the State as raw materials for industries that are or may be established within the State" added.

This is consequential.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 8:—

Before Section 55, page 26, a new section inserted as follows:—

55.—(1) The costs of an inquiry held by the board under this Part of this Act incurred by any party appearing at such inquiry shall be borne by that party, unless the board consider that justice requires that those costs or any part thereof should be paid by some other party appearing at such inquiry, in which event they may include a recommendation to that effect in their report to the Minister.

(2) Every recommendation made by the board under this section shall specify the amount (in this section referred to as the specified amount) of costs which they consider should be paid, and the party whom they consider entitled to such costs and the party whom they consider liable to pay the same.

(3) Whenever the board make a recommendation under this section, the Minister shall consider such recommendation, and may, if he so thinks fit, by order direct that such sum of costs (not exceeding the specified amount), as he thinks proper shall be paid to the party whom the board consider entitled to such costs by the party whom they consider liable to pay the same.

(4) A sum directed to be paid by order of the Minister under the next preceding sub-section of this section shall, in default of payment, be recoverable as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

(5) For the purposes of this section, the costs of an inquiry include the fees, charges and expenses of and incidental to such inquiry.

This is an amendment to remedy a defect in drafting. Under Section 37 of the Act of 1931 the Mining Board were empowered to recommend whether costs should be awarded to parties to an inquiry held by the board. The intention was that the board should be given similar powers in this Bill. Unfortunately, however, Section 72, which empowers the board to award costs, extends only to costs arising under Part VII of the Bill. The introduction of this new section will remedy the defect and will make the powers of the board generally applicable.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 9:—

Section 59. In paragraph (b), page 27, all words from the word "as" in line 12 to the end of the paragraph deleted, and the following words substituted:—

"in accordance with the following provisions, that is to say:—

(i) in case there are any arrears of such annuity and the amount so payable to the Land Commission (in this paragraph referred to as the said amount) does not exceed such arrears, in or towards discharge of such arrears,

(ii) in case there are any arrears of such annuity and the said amount exceeds such arrears—

(I) so much of the said amount as is equal to such arrears shall be applied in discharge of such arrears, and

(II) the balance of the said amount shall be applied in or towards redemption of such annuity,

(iii) in case there are no arrears of such annuity, in or towards re demption of such annuity;".

In the course of the discussion on the Committee Stage of the Bill in the Dáil, Deputy Cosgrave expressed the fear that the powers proposed to be given to the Land Commission under Section 59 might be utilised in some cases in such a way that any compensation that may be payable to a farmer who holds his land from the Land Commission might be applied towards a reduction of the capital still due by the tenant purchaser and thereafter toward a reduction of any arrears of the annuity which may have accumulated. The result would be that the tenant farmer would get no immediate benefit from the compensation awarded to him. This amendment has been introduced to meet that. It will make it obligatory on the Land Commission to apply the compensation moneys in reduction of the arrears before any part of it is applied towards redemption of the annuity.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 10:—

Section 64. After sub-section (5), page 28, a new sub-section added as follows:—

(6) A certificate, purporting to be certified by the secretary of the board, which contains a statement of the following matters, namely:—

(a) the fact that the board has made an award,

(b) the nature and amount of the compensation payable under such award,

(c) the person to whom such compensation is payable,

(d) the person by whom such compensation is payable,

shall be received in all legal proceedings as prima facie evidence of the matters so certified without proof of the signature of the person by whom such certificate purports to be certified or that he was in fact the secretary of the board.

The purpose of the amendment is to enable the person in whose favour the award is made to sue on it without having to produce the whole award. The award may be in some circumstances a lengthy and expensive document to copy.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 11:—

Section 65. In sub-section (2), page 29, all words from the word "as" in line 9 to the end of the sub-section deleted, and the following words substituted:—

"in accordance with the following provisions, that is to say:—

(a) in case there are any arrears of such annuity and the amount of such moneys does not exceed such arrears, in or towards discharge of such arrears,

(b) in case there are any arrears of such annuity and the amount of such moneys exceeds such arrears—

(i) so much of such moneys as is equal to such arrears shall be applied in discharge of such arrears, and

(ii) the balance of such moneys shall be applied in or towards redemption of such annuity,

(c) in case there are no arrears of such annuity, in or towards redemption of such annuity."

This amendment is consequential on the amendment to Section 59.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in amendment No. 12:—

Section 67. In paragraph (b), page 30, line 6, the word "ten" deleted and the word "twenty" substituted.

This amendment was introduced in response to a suggestion made by Deputy Cosgrave on the Committee Stage of the Bill. Under the section as it originally stood, in certain cases where the minerals had come into the possession of the owner within the preceding ten years the board was given discretion as to the form which the compensation might take. At Deputy Cosgrave's suggestion that period has been lengthened, and it is proposed to make it 20 years instead of ten years.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, agreed to and reported. Message to be sent to the Seanad accordingly.