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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-3: Large Scale Exploitation - 26. Large Scale Exploitation Licensing | 26.7 Rights of a Licence Holder

Provisions that address what possession of a mining licence allows the licence holder to do or what the licence holder may be entitled to are collectively treated as rights. In addition to the right to explore for and mine the minerals under the licence, a large scale exploitation licence may include most of the following rights (subject to applicable permits and regulations) with respect to the specified minerals in the area for which the licence is granted:

  • to build the mine, erect structures and install equipment necessary for the mining, processing, storage and shipment of the mineral products;
  • to build or install structures and facilities for the mine staff and their families;
  • to utilize ground-water within the licenced area for uses related to the mine activity;
  • to utilize timber resources at the site for uses related to the mining operation;
  • to utilize any natural hydropower resources within the licenced area for uses related to the mining operation; and
  • to build infrastructure for the delivery of the mineral products from the mine to points of sale;
  • to obtain the extension of the exploitation licence to other minerals discovered in commercial quantities within the licence area; and
  • to obtain the renewal of the exploitation licence if the holder is in compliance with its obligations.
  • Reasonable non-interference in use and exercise of the licence;
  • to beneficiate, process, and transform the minerals for which the licence is granted into marketable commodities;
  • to transport and sell the minerals (possibly with restrictions on sales of unprocessed minerals);

These rights are not necessarily expressed in a single section of the mining law; but it would facilitate understanding and implementation if they were.

26.7. Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) A mining lease confers on the holder the right within the mining lease Area to-

(a) obtain access and to enter the mining lease area;

(b) exclusively use, occupy and carry out mineral exploitation within the mining lease area;

(c) exclusively carry out exploration within the mining lease area;

(d) utilise the water and wood and other construction materials as necessary for mineral exploitation in accordance with the permit and regulations;

(e) use such portions as may be required for the purposes of growing such plants and vegetables, or keeping such animals, poultry and fish as may be reasonable for use of the employees at the mine;

(f) store, remove, transport, submit to treatment, transform and process the mineral resources, and dispose of any waste; and

(g) market, sell, export or otherwise dispose of the mineral products resulting from the mining operations.


Drawn from Nigeria’s mining law (2007), this provision is a succinct statement of the typical rights of holders of exploitation rights. The right to access and enter the mining lease area is actually subject to further conditions and a process developed elsewhere in the Act.

26.7 Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) An operating licence confers on the holder an exclusive right to exploit the deposits that are located within their area.

(2) In accordance with the laws and regulations in force, an operating licence includes authorisation to transport the extracted mining materials, their concentrates or their primary by-products as well as the metals and alloys for these materials, or have them transported, to a storage, processing or loading area, to dispose of them on the foreign or domestic market, and export them.

(3) An operating licence also authorises the holder to set up facilities for the packaging, processing, refining and conversion of mining materials related to the purpose of the licence, in accordance with the regulations in force.

(4) An operating licence constitutes an immovable and indivisible right . It may be the subject of a mortgage, subject to prior approval from [the regulatory authority] and under the conditions provided for by decree.


Drawn from Côte d’Ivoire’s mining law (2014), this provision similarly lists the typical rights of the holder of an exploitation permit. It includes the specification that the exploitation permit is a right that can be mortgaged with the prior approval of the Regulating Authority (see Transfer of Rights below for considerations that relate to mortgage rights).