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Part A: General Topics - 21. Miscellaneous Topics - 21.3 Treatment of Minerals/Materials Not Under License | 21.3(c) Radioactive Materials – Special Provisions

This topic is about special rules which should apply to radioactive materials which are discovered during the exercise of a mining right. It is important to regulate this topic because radioactive materials feature unique inherent risks and dangers. These risks and dangers are not only related to the discovery itself, but also to the following disposal, circulation and final use of such materials. These risks are further escalated by the growing ubiquity of non-state or loosely organized radical and violent groups. Many African countries do have a specific code concerning radioactive materials. Therefore, all actions relating to radioactive materials have to be carefully regulated or referenced in the mining law.

21.3(c) Example 1:

Article [_]

(1)The provisions of this Act relating to exploration, and mining of minerals shall apply to radioactive minerals with such modifications as are provided in this Part and as may be prescribed in the Regulations

(2) Where any radioactive mineral is discovered in the course of exercising any right under this Act or any authority under any other enactment, the holder of the mineral right or such other authority shall immediately notify the [Regulating Entity], but in any case, not later than seven calendar days after the discovery.

(3) Where any radioactive mineral is discovered on any land other than land subject to a mineral right, the owner or lawful occupier of the land shall as soon after he is aware of such discovery notify the [Regulating Entity].

(4) The holder of a mineral right in respect of a radioactive mineral shall within the first week of every month, furnish the [Regulating Entity] with a report, in writing, of the exploration and mining operations conducted by him in the immediately preceding month.

(5) No person shall explore for or mine or treat or possess or export or import or otherwise dispose of any radioactive mineral except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a permit granted by the [Regulating Entity].

(6) A permit issued under subsection (5) shall be in such form and shall be subject to the payment of such fee as the [Regulating Entity] may prescribe.

Annotation

Drawn from Sierra Leone’s mining law (2009), this provision indicates the inclusion of the mining of radioactive materials within the scope of the mining law but provides for higher scrutiny of mining activities as it relates to the radioactive materials. This includes immediate notification of such discovery, the strictly regulated reporting requirements of such mining operations and the restrictions of export and disposal of such minerals.

For a clearer regime, it is necessary to include special provisions on the process for obtaining a license to exploit such radioactive materials, more frequent inspection of the mining facilities, and restrictions to the commerce of such minerals.

Finally, it is advisable to include specific penalties for offenses and breaches related specifically to this activity as such offenses may potentially have greater negative impact than offenses related to non-radioactive materials.

21.3(c) Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) If required for the safety of the public, the President of the Republic may, by Decree, and on the recommendation of the [the Regulatory Authority], in accordance with the opinion of the [Geology Division], declare a mineral substance to be "reserved" and hence subject to special rules.

(2) A Decree which classifies a mineral substance as a "reserved" shall specify the rules and provisions which the substance is subject to. The declaration shall be published in the [Official Gazette].

(3) Thorium and uranium ores and, in general, all radioactive ores shall fall under the rules for reserved materials provided for in the above paragraphs of the present Article.

Annotation

Drawn from DRC’s mining law (2002), this provision creates a “reserved class” of minerals based on safety needs. These minerals are subject to specific rules that are enumerated by special decree of the President. This provision also makes a point of naming specific minerals (uranium, thorium, and all radioactive minerals) as automatically being placed in this class of mineral substances.