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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-4: ASM Licencing - 28. Artisanal Mining | 28.4. Area

The section on area should provide for the spatial limits within which the artisanal mining is authorized. If a specific site is designated for the AM licence, the mining law should establish the minimum and maximum size (which may vary depending on the mineral to be exploited), the shape and orientation of the area, whether or not contiguous license areas are permitted, and whether under certain conditions overlapping licence areas with other types of mineral licenses are permitted. The area should be a polygon with a minimum and maximum number of sides prescribed by the general rules for mineral licence areas or composed of cadastral units as set out in the mining law.

Alternatively, the mining law may provide for the creation of special designated areas set aside for artisanal mining operations in which the issuance of other mining rights will not be permitted.

28.4. Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) Subject to this section, the [Regulating Authority] shall, within [thirty] days of receipt of an application under article [_], and on the recommendation of the Mining Cadastre Office, grant an artisan's mining right to the applicant, to explore and mine the deposit referred to in the application.

(2) An artisan's mining right shall—

(a) identify the minerals in respect of which it is granted; and

(b) be granted over an area not exceeding two cadastre units, not being an area that is already subject to a mining right, which shall be delineated on a plan attached to the right.


Drawn from Zambia’s mining law (2008), this is an example of a provision for individual AM licence areas.

It provides for a review of the area for which the AM licence is to be issued by the Mining Cadastre Office in order to verify that the licence area is not within an existing licence area of any other mining right (i.e., no overlaps whatsoever are permitted).

By making the grant of the AM licence subject to the recommendation of the Mining Cadastre Office, the example assures that the shape, orientation and size of the licence area conform to the applicable cadastre rules for all licence areas.

The spatial limit of two cadastre units for the licence area translates to an average of 2 x 3.34 hectares = 6.68 ha per licence. The mining law does not limit the number of AM licences that a person may hold; nor does it prohibit the grant of licences over contiguous areas to the same person. Therefore, a person could potentially secure access to a larger area by obtaining more than one AM licence. However, the AM licence is intended to authorize exploitation of a deposit that can be efficiently exploited within a short time frame (1-3 years) using artisanal (i.e., non-mechanized) methods. If a person has identified a deposit larger than what can be exploited within 6 2/3 has mechanized exploitation will probably be appropriate and the person should apply for a SSM licence rather than an AM licence.

28.4. Example 2:

Article [_]. Establishing an area for artisanal mining

(1) When, due to the features of certain deposits of gold, diamonds or any other mineral substance, technical and economic factors do not allow for industrial or semi-industrial operations, but do allow for artisanal operations, such deposits shall be established as an artisanal mining area, within the limits of a set geographic area.

(2) The establishment of an artisanal exploitation zone shall be carried out by [the decision of the Regulatory Authority] after consultation with [the Mines Directorate] and [the Governor of the Province] concerned.

(3) A mining perimeter with a valid mining title cannot be converted into an artisanal mining area. Such a perimeter is expressly excluded from artisanal zones established in accordance with the provisions of this [chapter].

(4) The establishment of an artisanal mining area is addressed to the Mining Cadastre, which deals with mining rights maps. As long as an artisanal mining area exists, no mining title can be granted, except for a research permit requested by a group of artisanal miners working in the zone.

(5) However, [the Geology Department] may at any time carry out prospecting and research in artisanal areas.

(6) The Mining Regulations set the conditions for the exceptional granting of the Research Permit to the grouping of artisanal miners.


Drawn from DRC’s mining law (2002), this is an example of the establishment of an artisanal mining zone in which all mining will be reserved for holders of AM authorizations to work in the area. This approach limits AM to certain designated zones instead of assigning specific areas to AM licence holders.

In order for an area to be designated as an AM zone, it must contain deposits of minerals that are suitable for AM but not for industrial exploitation. Advice of the geological service and the provincial governor is required to be considered by the Regulating Authority before it takes a decision to establish an AM zone. Furthermore, an AM zone may not be created over an area where a mineral licence already exists.

The Mining Cadastre records the newly established AM zone on its cadastre maps, thereby assuring that the area is available and that the shape, orientation and alignment of the zone corresponds to the cadastre rules on licence areas. No new mineral licence is allowed to be granted within the AM zone, with the exception of an exploration licence that may only be granted to a grouping of the AM authorization holders operating in the zone. However, the geological service is authorized to conduct exploration activities in the zone.