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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-1: Mineral Licences - Prospecting/Reconnaissance - 24. Prospecting/Reconnaissance Licencing | 24.8 Renewal of Licence

Addressed often at the same time as the term of licence, renewal determines when, for how long, and how many times a licence holder may extend the duration of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence. Among African mining laws that provide for prospecting/reconnaissance licences, some provide that they are not renewable, others provide that they are renewable or extendable only once for a period equal to that of the initial term, and a couple of mining laws provide that they are renewable indefinitely.

If the prospecting/reconnaissance licence provides an exclusive right to conduct mineral resource development activities in a specific area and includes the exclusive right to apply for an exploration licence and to obtain such licence if in compliance with all requirements of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence, then renewals tend to be, and should be, kept to a minimum in order to avoid tying up vast areas of land for limited, non-invasive preliminary investigations that should be accomplished within a short period of time.

In cases where the prospecting/reconnaissance licence is non-exclusive and includes no right or priority to obtain an exploration licence for the next phase of mineral resource development activity, there is no risk that its existence will freeze any areas of land from further mineral resource development activities. In such cases, a more liberal rule on renewals may be appropriate.

24.8 Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) Subject to subsection (2), a reconnaissance licence may be extended once only and for a period not exceeding twelve months.

(2) Where, at least one month before the end of the extended period, or within the shorter period that the [Regulating Authority] may allow, the holder of a reconnaissance licence satisfies the [Regulating Authority] that delay by a government institution in the issuance of a permit or in carrying out a lawful activity has resulted in delay by the holder in the discharge of an obligation under the reconnaissance licence, the holder may apply in writing to the [Regulating Authority] for extension and the [Regulating Authority] may extend the term of the reconnaissance licence for a period not more than twelve months.


Drawn from Ghana’s Mining law (2006), this article provides for one extension of the term of an exclusive reconnaissance licence for up to a year, and a conditional further extension up to a year if the condition is met. As noted above, Ghana seeks to encourage investment in greenfield investigation by granting the reconnaissance licence holder an exclusive right to obtain an exploration licence over all or part of the reconnaissance area if the holder is in compliance with the requirements of the licence.

24.8 Example 2:

Article [_]

The reconnaissance permission is valid for two years and is not renewable.


Drawn from South Africa’s mining law (2002), this provision grants a relatively long initial term for the prospecting/reconnaissance licence that is non-exclusive and includes no priority or right to an exploration licence. The initial term in this example is equivalent to the usual one-year initial term and one-year renewal term found in other mining laws. Since the licence is not exclusive, its existence does not prevent the grant of another licence over the same area, nor should it inhibit other land uses in the area. Therefore, the longer initial term is benign.