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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-4: ASM Licencing - 27. Small Scale Licencing | 27.11. Revocation of License

This section provides for when a licence may be revoked (or cancelled or withdrawn). This may happen if the conditions under which the licence was issued have changed (for example, the licence holding entity is no longer wholly owned by nationals, as required) or are no longer being observed (for example, limits on investment or production have been exceeded). This may include failure to rectify noncompliance with provisions in the law such as record keeping requirements, a prohibition against using child labour, and mandatory health, safety and environmental management obligations.

Because licence revocation is the ultimate civil penalty for noncompliance with conditions or obligations of the SSM licence, the implementation of that sanction should be subject to due process protections. These should include:

    1) Notice in writing to the licence holder stating the grounds for a proposed revocation;

    2) A reasonable opportunity for the licence holder to present arguments and evidence of compliance or of a force majeure event that temporarily excused noncompliance; and

    3) A reasonable opportunity to rectify a correctable violation of a condition or failure to meet an obligation and a decision as whether the cause for revocation has been rectified, as a condition prior to revocation.

These protections should essentially mirror those that apply in the case of revocations of large scale exploitation licences.

27.11. Example 1:

Article [_]

A SSM licence may be revoked by the [Regulating Authority] if the mining activities have not commenced within 180 calendar days from the date of issuance or renewal of the licence or if the share ownership of [Country citizens] in the licensed entity is less than 25%.

Annotation

Drawn from Sierra Leone’s mining law (2009), this example provides only two grounds for revocation that are specific to a SSM licence: failure to commence activities under the licence in a timely fashion and failure to comply with the minimum national ownership requirement.

Although these are the only two grounds for revocation of the SSM licence, holders are also subject to the general provisions on licence cancellation that apply to all mineral rights under Sierra Leone’s mining law. Thus, this example adds specific grounds for revocation of the SSM licence to the generally applicable grounds for revocation/cancellation of all types of mineral licences. This specific provision is necessary in order to enforce the national ownership condition for the SSM licence and to prevent holders from using licences to block others from accessing certain sites rather than performing work on the site themselves.

27.11. Example 2:

Article [_]. Revocation of licence

(1) The [Regulating Authority] may revoke a SSM licence granted under the terms of this [Act][Code][Law] where,

(a) the [Regulating Authority] is satisfied that the licensee has contravened or failed to comply with a term or condition of the licence or a requirement applicable to the licensee,

(b) the licensee is convicted of any offence relating to the smuggling or illegal sale or dealing in minerals, or

(c) the [Regulating Authority] is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so.

Annotation

Drawn from Ghana’s mining law (2006), this example provides three alternative grounds for the revocation of a SSM license. These grounds are broader than the grounds in the preceding example because they constitute all of the grounds for revocation or cancellation of a SSM licence under Ghana’s mining law. The SSM licence is not within the definition of the term “mineral right” under Ghana’s mining law and is therefore not subject to the general provisions on cancellation of mineral rights. Thus, this is an example of an inclusive revocation provision for SSM licences.