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Part D: Environment - 39. Other Natural Resources | 39.2 Forestry/Timber

In order to adequately address forestry protection and illegal logging, it is essential for mining codes both to make reference to relevant forestry legislation and address pertinent rights, protections, and licensing as it pertains to the mining sector. Where addressed in a mining code, the section may want to highlight different forest authorities (which may be separate from the environmental authority) and the need to specify the applicable agencies for coordination purposes. It should also ideally specify which timber rights exist as attached to the mining license and which may require further or separate authorization from the relevant authority. In addition, some key issues that may be addressed under forestry include:

  • the necessary permits required (for clearing or use)
  • timber rights that attach to the mining license
  • use and sale of timber for other landowners/community around the mining site (this should be cross-referenced with the subtopic on land and coexistence between the mining project and third parties)

It is also worthwhile to consider, depending on country context, the need for a separate approval/licensing authority before activities related to logging or clearing to commence. This may encourage transparency and standardization of rights related to forest activities across all mining sites.

39.2. Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) The holder of a mining right may, in order to construct buildings or perform any other operation required for mining activities, cut timber forming part of the domain of the [State] on the parcel of land that is subject to the right, in accordance with the rules set forth in the [Relevant Forestry Legislation] and the regulations. However, the rules referred to above do not apply to a person who effects line cutting not exceeding [x] metre in width.

(2) Similarly, except in the case of a strip of woodland established for the protection of lakes, watercourses, riparian areas and wetlands by government regulation under section [x] of the [Relevant Forestry Legislation], the rules apply neither to a person cutting trenches or performing other excavations nor to a person carrying out drilling work, provided the person has obtained prior authorization from the [Forest Regulating Authority] and complies with the following conditions:

(a) the total area of the trenches or other excavations, added, as the case may be, to the total area of excavations already carried out by another holder of a mining right, shall not exceed [x%] of the wooded area of the parcel of land in question;

(b) the area affected by the cutting of timber, which is required for drilling work, added, as the case may be, to the area affected by cutting already carried out by another holder of a mining right on the same conditions, shall not exceed [x%] of the wooded area of the parcel of land in question.

(3) The said [Regulating Authority] may give authorization subject to such other conditions and obligations as he may establish jointly with the [Other Relevant Authorities] responsible for the administration of this [Act][Code][Law].

(4) Moreover, the rules referred to in the first paragraph do not apply to a person who, in order to stake a parcel of land in accordance with section [x], must cut timber forming part of the domain of the [State].

(5) Notwithstanding the foregoing, in any area classified as an exceptional forest ecosystem under the [Relevant Forest Legislation], the holder of the mining right must follow the rules set forth in the [Relevant Forestry Legislation].

Annotation

Drawn from Quebec’s mining law (2015), this provision provides how and in what ways a mining license holder may use timber rights. The provision also explicitly lays out the types of cutting that are outside the scope of a mining license and require approval from the relevant authority managing forestry rights. Finally, notwithstanding general timber rights assumed by license holders, the provision makes an exception where any part of the mining site is deemed a protected ecosystem according to the relevant forestry legislation.

39.2. Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) Mining locations made under the [Country] mining law upon lands within an area of three thousand six hundred acres, more or less, shall confer on the locator the right to occupy and use so much of the surface of the land covered by the location as may be reasonably necessary to carry on exploration and mining, including the taking of mineral deposits and timber required by or in the mining operations, and no permit shall be required or charge made for such use or occupancy.

(2) Provided, however that the cutting and removal of timber, except where clearing is necessary in connection with mining operations or to provide space for buildings or structures used in connection with mining operations, shall be conducted in accordance with the rules for timber cutting on adjoining national-forest land, and no use of the surface of the claim or the resources therefrom not reasonably required for carrying on mining and exploration shall be allowed except under the national forest rules and regulations, nor shall the locator prevent or obstruct other occupancy of the surface or use of surface resources under authority of national-forest regulations, or permits issued thereunder, if such occupancy or use is not in conflict with mineral development.

Annotation

Drawn from 16 U.S. Code § 482a - Mining rights in Prescott National Forest, this example lays out in a more detailed manner the different types of timber use that are allowed under a mining license. This use is restricted to what is necessary for mining. Distinct from example 1, this provision does not require a permit or other authorization in exercising the timber rights allowed under the mining license

The provision specifies that any timber use beyond that allowed under a mining license will require a separate permit, and provides for the use of timber resources by other users to the extent that such use does not conflict with mineral development..

It should also be noted that this example also specifically addresses timber use as it pertains to mining locations near to and within a particular protected area (in this case a national park).