Map Disclaimer

Information in this screening tool is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or scientific advice or service. The World Bank makes no warranties or representations, express or implied as to the accuracy or reliability of this tool or the data contained therein. A user of this tool should seek qualified expert for specific diagnosis and analysis of a particular project. Any use thereof or reliance thereon is at the sole and independent discretion and responsibility of the user. No conclusions or inferences drawn from the tool or relating to any aspect of any of the maps shown on the tool, should be attributed to the World Bank, its Board of Executive Directors, its Management, or any of its member countries.

The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map the tool do not imply any judgment or endorsement on the part of the World Bank concerning the delimitation or the legal status of any territory or boundaries. In no event will the World Bank be liable for any form of damage arising from the application or misapplication of the tool, any maps, or any associated materials.

Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-1: Mineral Licences - Prospecting/Reconnaissance - 24. Prospecting/Reconnaissance Licencing | 24.6 Rights of a Licence Holder

The rights of a reconnaissance-type prospecting licence holder are generally limited to the right to conduct non-invasive prospecting/reconnaissance activities as defined, within the licenced area, on a non-exclusive basis, and to collect samples in small quantities for analysis. A clear definition of the scope of this reconnaissance-type of prospecting, and how it differs from exploration, is therefore essential. A prospecting/reconnaissance licence may include the right to conduct airborne geophysical surveys, as in Sierra Leone and Uganda. Because it is usually non-exclusive, this type of licence generally does not entitle the holder to a priority for obtaining an exploration licence. However, an exclusive prospecting/reconnaissance licence that does entitle the holder to such a priority is available under the mining laws of Ghana and Liberia, and constitutes a more valuable initial mineral right than the typical non-exclusive licence.

24.6 Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) Subject to this [Act][Code][Law] and the conditions of a reconnaissance licence granted under this [Act][Code][Law], the holder of a reconnaissance licence, his employees, servants or agents shall have the non-exclusive right to carry on reconnaissance operations in the reconnaissance area.

(2) For the purpose of exercising the right conferred under subsection (1), the holder of a reconnaissance licence may-

(a) enter on or fly over the reconnaissance area to carry on approved reconnaissance operations on a non-exclusive basis;

(b) take and remove specimens and samples from the reconnaissance area not exceeding such limit as is reasonably required for reconnaissance purposes;

(c) sell, with the prior written permission of the[Regulating Authority], mineral specimens and samples obtained from reconnaissance operations;

(d) subject to any law then in force, take timber and water from any lake or watercourse for the purposes of reconnaissance operations;

(e) erect camps and temporary buildings, including installations in any water forming part of the reconnaissance area provided that the erection of any camp or building under this paragraph shall not be construed as conferring any right, title or interest in the land;

(f) remove on or before the termination of the reconnaissance operations, any camps, temporary buildings or installations which the holder may have erected.


Drawn from Sierra Leone’s mining law (2009), this example is a fairly standard statement of the rights of prospecting/reconnaissance licence holders. The rights in this case are limited to superficial investigation and reasonable sampling without the use of drilling or other invasive techniques (based on the definition of reconnaissance in the mining law).

The rights are non-exclusive and do not convey any priority to obtain an exploration licence for the subsequent phase of mineral resource development activity.

24.6 Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) Subject to this [Act][Code][Law] and the Regulations made under this [Act][Code][Law], a prospecting/reconnaissance licence confers on the holder and a person authorized, in accordance with this [Act][Code][Law] by the holder of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence, the exclusive right to carry on reconnaissance in the reconnaissance area for the minerals to which the reconnaissance licence relates and to conduct other ancillary or incidental activity.

(2) For the purposes of exercising the right conferred under subsection (1), a holder of a prospecting/reconnaissance licence and a person authorized in accordance with this [Act][Code][Law] by the holder of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence, may enter the reconnaissance area and erect camps or temporary buildings, subject to compliance with the provisions of this [Act][Code][Law].

(3) A holder of a prospecting/reconnaissance licence shall not engage in drilling or excavation.

(4) If a holder of a prospecting/reconnaissance licence applies for an exploration licence over all or part of the land and for a mineral which is the subject of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence and the holder has materially complied with the obligations imposed by this [Act][Code][Law] with respect to

(a) the holding of the licence, and

(b) the activities to be conducted under the licence,

The [Regulating Authority] shall within sixty days of the application, subject to the permits and other obligations required by law having been complied with, grant the applicant the exploration licence on the conditions that shall be specified in the licence.


Drawn from Ghana’s mining law (2006), this example provides for the exclusive right to conduct reconnaissance with respect to specified minerals in the area that is covered by the licence. Drafters should consider clarifying whether the exclusivity conferred by the licence means (a) that no other mineral activity whatsoever by another person will be authorized within the licence area during the term of the licence or (b) no other mineral activity by another person with respect to the specified minerals will be authorized during the term of the licence, but mineral activity as to other minerals may be authorized.

This provision specifically empowers the licence holder to authorize another person to conduct the reconnaissance operations on behalf of the holder, provided the authorization is done in accordance with the mining law. Care should be taken in other articles to prescribe the qualifications of such third parties and the nature of their relationship with the licence holder.

The scope of the activity authorized by the prospecting/reconnaissance licence in the example – “reconnaissance ... and other ancillary or incidental activity” – is defined in the definition of “reconnaissance” in the “Interpretation” section of the mining law, which is the standard approach to drafting such provisions. The example adds the authorization to conduct ancillary and incidental activities to ensure inclusion of necessary related activities.

This provision includes one specific authorization as to land use and one specific prohibition as to drilling and excavation (for emphasis, even though those activities are excluded by the definition of reconnaissance). The land use authorization is typically qualified (in other articles) to require non-interference with existing land uses to the extent possible, consultation with other land users, and compensation for any damage or interference with other lawful uses of the land.

The provision in this example requires the Regulating Authority to grant the holder of a prospecting/reconnaissance licence an exploration licence if the holder has materially complied with the obligations under the Act. By granting the holder who is in compliance the right to obtain a licence for the subsequent phase of mineral resource development activity, this article provides security of tenure to the licence holder and thereby encourages investment in “greenfield” reconnaissance (for which the success rate is very low). The exclusive nature of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence and the security of tenure that it provides to the holder are considered by the mining industry to be valuable rights.