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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-4: ASM Licencing - 27. Small Scale Licencing | 27.14. Specific Violations and Penalties

This section provides for what are considered violations that are specific to small scale mining activities, and which will result in penalties in the form of fines and/or imprisonment. Small scale mining is subject to the general provisions of the mining law on violations and penalties, as well. These specific violations should relate to the unique features of small scale mining, for example: (a) it is limited as to investment, or degree of mechanization, or production volume, and (b) it is reserved exclusively for nationals and national-owned entities

27.14. Example 1:

Article [_]. Unlawful possession of precious minerals.

(1) Any person who is in possession of any precious mineral and who fails to prove that he is in lawful possession of such mineral commits an offence.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1)-

(a) a labourer or tributer employed by the holder of a small-scale mining licence shall not be deemed to be in lawful possession of a precious mineral unless such mineral is in his possession within the actual workings in the mineral right area;

(b) the holder of a small-scale licence or its duly authorized agent as the case may be, shall not be deemed to be in lawful possession of the precious mineral unless such mineral is in its possession-

(i) within the actual workings of its mineral right area;

(ii) within its registered place of business; or

(iii) any other place used to exercise the rights vested in it in respect of such minerals by virtue of the licence.

(3) Subject to article [_] and this article, no other person shall be deemed to be in lawful possession of a precious mineral unless such mineral is in his possession under and in accordance with the terms of a valid mineral right or minerals licence issued under this [Act][Code][Law].

(4) Any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than [_] years.

(5) In addition to the penalty imposed in subsection (4) for an offence committed under this section, any precious minerals in connection with which the offence was committed shall be forfeited to the State.

Annotation

Drawn from Sierra Leone’s mining law (2009), this provision makes it an offence for any employee of a small scale mining licence holder to be in possession of precious minerals except at the work site within the licence area. It also makes it an offence for the SSM licence holder to be in possession of precious minerals unless the holder is at the above-mentioned work site, at the holder’s registered place of business, or at any other place “used to exercise the rights vested in it in respect of such minerals by virtue of the licence”.

27.14. Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) Any holder of a small scale mining licence who knowingly engages in mining operations within the licensed area that exceed the limits of scale, mechanization, investment or production applicable to the holder’s licence for more than two days without having first obtained the approval of the [Regulating Authority] or the transformation of the SSM license into a standard exploitation licence shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction for the payment of a fine of not less than [_] [national currency] and not more than [_][national currency] or to imprisonment for not less than [_] days nor more than [_] year(s), or to both such penalties.

(2) Any person or group of persons who knowingly obtain or act under a SSM licence on behalf of one or more persons or entities who are not eligible to hold a SSM licence under the terms of this [Act][Code][Law], shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction for the payment of a fine of not less than [_] [national currency] and not more than [_][national currency] or to imprisonment for not less than [_] days nor more than [_] year(s), or to both such penalties.

Annotation

This example makes it a criminal offence for the holder of a SSM licence to knowingly engage in activity that exceeds the limits of scale, mechanization, investment or production that apply to the SSM licence for more than a very short period of time without either obtaining the consent of the Regulating Authority or transforming the SSM license into a standard exploitation licence.

The example also makes it a criminal offence to front for non-nationals in obtaining or acting under a SSM licence.

These provisions are designed to punish what is essentially fraudulent behaviour in obtaining or acting under a SSM licence.