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Part C: Fiscal Terms - 36. Fiscal Terms | 36.7 Rents

Surface rents or surface area fees are generally payments per unit area of land for use of the land for the mining project. Provisions on surface area fees may provide for automatic adjustment for inflation. Generally surface rents are not very high and should not be seen as a significant revenue source to the government, but they do provide a consistent stream of payment to the government for the duration of the project and discourage speculative or excessive land holding.

The actual amount of the surface rent will often be left to regulations, which may be preferable as it better allows for changes to the surface rent based on inflation or land values.

Laws may also provide for surface rents specifically to private owners on which mining takes place. In such cases, these payments are not a part of the state’s fiscal regime and may not be aimed at discouraging excessive land holding. They may simply be a compensation to owners, depending on how land rights are allocated under the laws of a country.

36.7. Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) Any holder of a mining right or permit for quarry substances which gives it the right to engage in mining or quarry activities, is subject to the annual payment of surface royalties, in accordance with the table below for mine substances, and a joint order from the [Regulating Authorities].

(2) This surface royalty is in proportion to the surface area described in the mining right or authorisation.

(3) The terms for declaring and paying this surface royalty are determined by joint order of the [Regulating Authorities].

(4) The rates are updated by joint order of the [Regulating Authorities].

Surface royalties by mining right:

Name of the Title

Surface Royalties USD/km2


1st Renewal

2nd Renewal

Exploration Permit




Industrial Mining Operation Title




Semi-Industrial Mining Operation Title




Mining Concession




Dredging Operation Permit




* Per km


Drawn from Guinea’s mining code (2011), this provision fixes the actual amounts for the surface rent in legislation with respect to mining (not quarrying). The increases from award to first renewal and second renewal could incentive relinquishing land that is not being used at each point of renewal of a permit.

36.7. Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) A holder of a mining right, shall pay an annual ground rent as may be prescribed.

(2) Payment of annual ground rent shall be made to the owner of the land or successors and assigns of the owner except in the case of annual ground rent in respect of mining rights over stool lands, which shall be paid to the [Regulating Authority], for application in accordance with the [relevant law].


Taken from Ghana’s mining act (2006), this is an example of a rent provision that is aimed at compensating the owner for use of the land. It is one tool that may be considered for addressing loss of use of land due to mining, but does not replace the need to address loss of livelihood and resettlement issues in the legal framework, including who bears the costs and how compensation is determined, in a comprehensive manner.