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Part E: Local Development, Labour, Health and Safety - 41. Labour | 41.1 Applicability of Labour Law

This topic is used to make reference to all other applicable law resources relating to labour law. It is important to indicate other relevant law texts because the law reader/user otherwise may not be aware of legal obligations arising from the other general legal sources. The indication at the beginning of the labour section alerts the user to read other labour law sources in conjunction with the mining law. These sources can be national codes and regulations but also international applicable law sources.

In order to reduce the potential human rights risks, mining companies in Africa are faced with the increasing requirement to adopt and apply international labour standards such as established in the Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 (No. 176).

41.1 Example 1:

Article [_]

The prospecting and operating of mines and quarries must comply with the following general principle: the working of mines, quarries and the exploitation of the resulting products must comply with the laws and regulations relating to labour.

Annotation

Drawn from Rwanda’s mining law (2014), this provision is a general reference to the labour laws and regulations. The text works if the country has a strong and independent labour law.

The article is placed at the beginning of the mining law under the title general principles. In addition, it is advisable to place such reference at the beginning of the sector concerning labour law. If there are multiple applicable law sources it is advisable to name the specific laws (e.g. labour law, social security provisions, etc.).

41.1 Example 2:

Article [_]

All labour relationships in the mining sector, independent of their legal qualification by the parties, except those with independent contractors duly recognized by the relevant [Regulating Authorities], are regulated by the [national Labour Code] and its regulations. If dispositions of the [Labour Code] or its regulations establish lower standards than in the present [Code][Act][Law], the latter shall prevail.

Annotation

Inspired by language from Sierra Leone’s mining law (2009), Congo’s mining law (2002) and Cameroon’s mining law (2010), this provision highlights the prevalence rule as applicable to the Mining Code, ensuring that the labour rights of the workers are implemented, even if the general law is less strong on these standards.

It would be advisable to set principles and rules at least for the following subjects in the Mining Law itself, because they are particularly important for the mining sector:

  • time of underground work
  • health and safety
  • national quota of workers
  • right of participation into unions.