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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-4: ASM Licencing - 27. Small Scale Licencing | 27.2 Requirements for Licence Applications

Unlike the requirements for other licenses, the requirements for a licence Application for small scale mining activities are typically fewer. Some laws may have no requirements beyond those related to eligibility, leaving the definition of the application requirements to the implementing regulations. Where there are specific requirements in the law, these may include specifications on the form of the application, required supporting documents, and the need to meet certain criteria before the issuing authority will grant mining rights. Best practice encourages that the application include a survey map showing the coordinates indicating the area covered by the application, which may be a polygon with a minimum and maximum number of sides prescribed or a cadastre unit as set out in the mining law.

Requirements may also specify: (1) Where the application will be lodged; (2) what evidence of technical capacity and financial capacity should be provided and (3) evidence of the consent of the rightful owner occupier of land to potentially use the land for mining purposes may be required at the time of lodging the application. The application will need to indicate if the applicant holds other mineral licenses in the country.

Exploration may be required to have been conducted under an exploration licence covering the area that is the subject of a SSM application. Where such a process is followed then the application may need to be accompanied by a mining work program, an environmental impact assessment and environment management plan and the prescribed environmental financial guarantees.

27.2. Example 1:

Article [_]

“Primary mining licence ” means a licence for small scale mining operations, whose capital investment is less than US$100,000 or its equivalent in [national currency];

Article [_]

(1) Any person not disqualified under section 8 (listing categories of persons who are ineligible for mining licenses), may apply to the [local Regulating authority] for the grant of a primary mining licence.

(2) Every such application shall-

(a) be in the prescribed form and accompanied by the prescribed fee; and

(b) describe the area not exceeding the maximum area prescribed by regulation over which the licence is sought.

(3) A primary mining licence shall confer on the holder the right to prospect for and mine minerals as provided for in this Division of this Part.

Article [_]

(1) The [local Regulating authority] of the respective [Zone]

shall grant an application for a primary mining licence which has been properly made under section 54 (on the persons eligible to file and the contents of the application) unless-

    (a)the applicant is or was in default in respect of any other mineral right and has failed to rectify such default;

    (b)the area for which application has been made or part of it covers or includes an area which is:

(i) subject to another mineral right or an area which the [Regulating Authority] has approved in writing as a source of building materials for the construction of tunnels, roads, dams, aerodromes and similar public works of an engineering nature;

(ii) an area designated by the [Regulating Authority] under section 16 as an area reserved for prospecting and mining operations by persons holding primary mining licence s, to be allocated in accordance with a scheme of allocation provided for by the regulations;

(iii) an area designated by the [Regulating Authority] as an area in respect of which applications for the grant of a mineral right have been, or will be, invited by tender.


Drawn from Tanzania’s mining law (2010), this provision addresses small-scale mining activities under the mining licence referred to as the primary mining license, which is for mining projects involving an investment of less than $100,000. Investment beyond that limit means the operation exceeds the SSM scale; and the law requires that it be subject to a mining license, the next category in terms of scale (for investments of $100,000 to $ 100,000,000).

Given the modest investment involved, the Tanzanian mining law defers to the regulations the specification of the application contents. Significantly, it requires the payment of an application fee set by regulation, to defray processing costs and dissuade frivolous applications.

The application requirements specified in the law are limited to the following:

    (1)The applicant. He/she/it must not -

    • be a disqualified person (under the eligibility provisions);
    • be, or have been, in default that has not been rectified under any mineral right; and

(2)The application. It must:

    • be in the form prescribed by regulation, and
    • be accompanied by the fee prescribed by regulation;

(3)The area (for which the licence is sought). It must –

    • Be described in the application;
    • Not exceed the applicable size limitation set in the regulations;
    • Not be subject to another mineral right; and
    • Not be set aside or reserved by the Minister (a) as a source of building materials for infrastructure projects, or (b) for allocation among primary licence holders in accordance with the regulations, or (c) for tender.

27.2. Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, a person wishing to conduct small scale mining operations may apply for a minerals permit to conduct such operations for any mineral other than diamonds over an area not exceeding 0.5 km2 per permit.

(2) A person wishing to obtain a minerals permit shall apply to the

[Regulating Authority] by completing [Form xxx of the First Schedule] , which requires:

    a)Identification of the applicant and its partners/directors/members/shareholders,

    b)Description of the area applied for (including a map and coordinates),

    c)Particulars of the minerals for which the permit is sought,

    d)The period for which the permit is sought, and

    e)The proposed programs of work, including –

    (i) Details of the mineral deposit,

    (ii) estimated date by which applicant intends to work for profit,

    (iii) estimated capacity of production and scale of operations,

    (iv) nature of product,

    (v) envisaged marketing arrangements for sale of mineral product(s),

    (vi) Brief environmental impact assessment study and

    (vii) Brief environmental reclamation program.

(3) An application for a minerals permit relating to—

(a) any area in respect of which consent is required under any written law shall be accompanied by evidence that such consent has been obtained;

(b) land of which the applicant is not the owner shall be accompanied by evidence that the consent of the owner, or, in the case of tribal territory, the consent of the appropriate land board, has been obtained; or

(c) a prospecting area, retention area or mining area or part thereof shall be accompanied by evidence that the consent of the holder of the prospecting

licence , retention licence or mining licence has been given, unless such holder will not be prejudiced by the issue of a minerals permit.


Drawn from Botswana’s mining law (1999), this single article and the related schedule succinctly describe the application requirements for a “minerals permit” to conduct small scale mining operations. The application form is well adapted to the policy objective of facilitating access to small scale mining for national entrepreneurs, provided that they present a serious work program including environmental protections and that they obtain the consent of the owners of the land or any existing mineral licence holders in the area applied for.

This provision requires identification of the applicant company as well as the persons behind the company in order that the Regulating authority can determine whether the applicant is eligible.

It requires a map and coordinates of the area applied for in order that the Regulating authority can determine whether the area is available for such a mineral permit or whether an existing mineral licence holder’s consent is required.

It requires particulars of the minerals sought in order that the Regulating authority can determine that the law authorizes the grant of a mineral permit for such minerals. (For example, a mineral permit may not be issued for diamonds.)

It requires a comprehensive work program rather than a costly feasibility study, and a “brief” environmental impact assessment study together with a “brief” environmental reclamation program rather than a full-blown EIS and rehabilitation plan. These are simplified versions of the more strenuous application requirements for a large scale exploitation license.

The Botswana application requirements demonstrate a sensitivity to the rights of landowners or tribal land boards and existing mineral licence holders in the area applied for by requiring their written consent to be provided with the application, except – in the case of the existing mineral right holders – if they will not be prejudiced by the issue of a minerals permit, which determination is made by the Regulating Authority. Written consent is similarly required from the relevant authority if the area applied for is subject to such a requirement under any written law.