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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-6: Beneficiation - Processing, Trade & Transport | 35. Beneficiation – Processing, Trade and Transport

Unlike in other resource-rich countries such as China, Brazil, Australia or Canada, in many African countries, the refinement of extracted minerals to increase their value takes place outside of the country in which they are mined. To address this, a mining code may include beneficiation which encourages or requires mining licence holders to establish facilities that enhance or beneficiate extracted minerals within the country’s borders before exportation abroad. The “requirement option” ensures that there are clear obligations on mining companies. However to succeed such obligations on mining companies must be realistic and correspondingly supported by a strong and comprehensive national industrialization policy. Note that in some countries beneficiation of minerals may be addressed in its own law, separate from the country’s general mining law.

A key element for designing successful policies in this area is to first conduct a sound economic and environmental analysis in order to identify sound beneficiation and commercialization opportunities and constraints. In this regard, it is interesting to consider opportunities at national level but also at a regional level, as some constraints might be better addressed in coordination with other regional countries rather than each individual country standing alone.

This topic may also deal with authorisation for the transport, processing, refining, cutting, polishing or trading of mineral products. In some cases, commercialization may be addressed to specific minerals. In some cases, a specific mineral will have a separate piece of legislation rather than provisions within the mining law that address this topic. In these circumstances, a country is treated as having multiple primary mining laws for the purpose of the AMLA platform. For example diamonds typically have separate provisions or legislation to address how and under what circumstances diamonds may be transported and refined for selling. Elsewhere, provisions may address the sale of jewellery or other final products made from minerals, and in some cases will lay out a licensing process, with only authorised buyer and seller licence holders permitted to engage in the commercialization of minerals.

For the purpose of the Guiding Template, the sample topics here apply only to development minerals (see Part B-5 for the explanation on development minerals) because it is an area where the current African context and capacities can prove fertile in the short to medium term, and a swift uptake by African countries of a comprehensive regional beneficiation and commercialization policy underpinned by a strong legal framework that utilizes some of the guidance outlined here can bring about transformational development dividends at both the national and continental level.

Processing, trade and transport of development mineral products may be conducted as part of an integrated mining operation or they may be conducted separately by independent actors. As such they may be governed by the mining law or by other laws or by a combination of the two. In any event, the mining law should be the law that establishes the overall policy and institutional framework for these activities.

Given that each of these activities could be undertaken separately and independently, provisions governing each type of activity are necessary.