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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-4: ASM Licencing - 28. Artisanal Mining | 28.9. Suspension of License

Suspension provisions enable the Regulating Authority to temporarily halt operations under an AM licence in order to avert or mitigate risks of damage to public health, safety or the environment believed to be caused by the AM operations, or in order to avoid further negative consequences arising from external events such as conflict, weather events or earthquakes. Suspension is also used as a sanction until an ASM licence holder corrects a failure to meet obligations as set out in the mining law and regulations or related laws and regulations. Ideally, the provisions authorizing suspension should allow for an appeal in situations not involving an emergency and should specify the conditions under which the suspension may be lifted.

28.9. Example 1:

Article [_] Notice to remedy dangerous or defective mining operations.

(1) Where an authorised officer considers any mining operation under an artisanal mining licence or anything, matter or practice in or connected with any such mining operation to be so dangerous or defective as in his opinion to be likely to cause bodily injury to any person, he may give notice in writing of it to the holder of the licence

(2) A notice issued pursuant to subsection (1) may require the danger or defect to be remedied or removed, either immediately or within such time as may be specified, and if the authorised officer considers it necessary, order the mining operations to be suspended until the danger is removed or the defect remedied to his satisfaction.

(3) The holder of an artisanal mining licence to whom notice has been given under subsection (1), shall comply with the notice.

(4) If the holder of an artisanal mining licence intends to object to any requirement or order given by the authorised officer, he shall forthwith cease the mining operations or that part of the operations affected by the notice and appeal to the [Regulating Authority] against the order.

(5) On an appeal made to the [Regulating Authority] pursuant to subsection (4), the [Regulating Authority] shall inquire into the matter and his decision thereon shall be final.


Drawn from Sierra Leone’s mining law (2009), this example provides for suspension only in the case where continued mining operations pose a probable threat of bodily injury to any person, in the opinion of an authorised officer of the Regulating Authority. The example provides for notice to the licence holder and an opportunity for him to appeal the suspension order to the Regulating Authority; but the Regulating Authority’s decision on appeal is not subject to any further review.

Because the risk of bodily injury to some person is the standard for justifying the suspension of mining operations, the licence holder is required to comply with the suspension order, even if he is taking an appeal. The suspension will only be lifted when the danger is removed or the defect is remedied o the satisfaction of the authorizing officer.

The role of suspension in the example is more limited in the AM context than it is in the context of industrial exploration and exploitation rights because suspension of AM operations may only be ordered when the authorized officer finds that the mining operation is so dangerous or defective as to be likely to cause bodily injury to some person. In the industrial context, suspension can be applied more broadly as a sanction less severe than revocation of the mining title that is applied in order to motivate licence holders to correct a variety of failures to comply with regulatory requirements – particularly in the case of health, safety, environmental protection and reporting.

28.9. Example 2:

Article [_] Suspension or cancellation of artisans mining right

(1) The [Regulating Authority] may suspend or cancel an artisan's mining right where—

(a) the holder of the right has been disqualified under article [_];

(b) the holder has been convicted of an offence under this [Act][Code][Law]; or

(c) the holder contravenes this [Act][Code][Law] or any condition of the right.

(3)Before acting under sub-section (1) of this Article, the [Regulating Authority] shall give notice in writing to the Licensee :

a) setting out the grounds for considering the suspension of the license;

b) directing the licensee to take specified measures to remedy any contravention, breach or failure; and

c) specifying a reasonable date of not less than [_] working days, before which the licensee may, in writing, submit any matter for the [Regulating Authority] to consider.

(3) The [Regulating Authority] may lift the notice for suspension of a mineral right where :

a) the licensee complies with the notice contemplated in sub-section 2(b) of this Article by rectifying, removing, or as appropriate by mitigating the grounds for suspension, or by preventing the recurrence of such grounds within the time specified in the notice; or

b) where it accepts the reasons supplied by the licensee in accordance with sub-section 2(c) of this Article for the lifting of the suspension.


Drawn from Zambia’s mining law (2008) and Ethiopia’s mining law (2010), this provision authorizes the Regulating Authority to suspend an AM license for any of the three specified reasons. None of the three reasons refers to an emergency situation as does the preceding example. Therefore, the two examples should be viewed as complementary pieces of a whole, rather than as alternative provisions. They should work together.

The example provides for notice and an opportunity for reconsideration based on information to be provided by the licensee or lifting of the suspension once the licensee has corrected the underlying problem that gave rise to the suspension. If the grounds for the suspension is one of the first two listed in sub-section (1) of the example, the licensee’s only defence would be to show that the alleged grounds for the suspension are not in fact true – i.e., that the holder has not been disqualified or has not been convicted of an offence under the mining law. If the third listed ground for suspension applies, the holder has an opportunity to correct the matter and obtain the lifting of the suspension.