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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-1: Mineral Licences - Prospecting/Reconnaissance - 24. Prospecting/Reconnaissance Licencing | 24.5 Specific Obligations of a Licence Holder

Provisions that lay out, for the holder of a prospecting/reconnaissance licence, the necessary responsibility or duty to undertake certain actions, or restrictions from undertaking certain actions or causing certain effects, are collectively treated as obligations. Obligations may be addressed in a number of different ways: in articles specific to the prospecting/reconnaissance licence, in general provisions that apply to all licences, and sometimes in other miscellaneous parts of a mining law. Obligations to be considered include the following:

1) Central identification and registration of all prospecting/reconnaissance team members;

2) Notification of local authorities before entering or leaving a prospecting/reconnaissance area;

3) Stay out of areas subject to existing mining rights other than non-exclusive prospecting/reconnaissance areas;

4) Obtain consent of landowners and lawful users prior to entering land privately owned or subject to lawful customary usage;

5) Adhere to environmental guidelines or code of conduct, including site protection and restoration;

6) Not engage in trenching, drilling or other invasive exploration activities;

7) Declaration of samples to the Department of Geology as a condition for removing them from the site;

8) General obligation to report results to all relevant Government bodies;

9) Obtain authorization for the export of samples (that is, small rock samples chipped from outcroppings because no drill core or bulk sampling is authorized at this stage); and

10) Submission of a report of findings.

24.5 Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) A Prospecting/Reconnaissance Permit shall be granted subject to the covenants and conditions that the holder thereof shall-

(a) carry out prospecting/reconnaissance on a non-exclusive basis;

(b) not engage in drilling, excavation or other sub-surface techniques;

(c) submit information and such periodical reports as may be prescribed by the [Regulating Authority];

(d) conduct reconnaissance activities in an environmentally and socially responsible manner as may be prescribed by the [Regulating Authority]; and

(e) compensate users of land for damage to land and property; and pay the fees prescribed by regulation.

(2) The activities allowed under a Prospecting/Reconnaissance Permit together with corresponding environmental and social obligations shall be further specified in regulations.

(3) Prospecting/Reconnaissance activity authorised by a Prospecting/Reconnaissance Permit shall not constitute a land use right for the purposes, objectives, rents, fees and requirements of the [Land Use Act].

Annotation

Drawn from Nigeria’s mining law (2007), this provision describes the obligations of the prospecting/reconnaissance permit holder. The article contemplates additional specifications in the regulation, contains a reporting requirement for licensees and prohibits any subsurface exploration, including drilling or excavation.

Paragraph 3 of the provision in the example essentially exempts the rights granted under the prospecting/reconnaissance licence from the requirements of the Land Use Act, because of the limited term and nature of the licence and the detailed provisions elsewhere in the mining law regarding notification, consent and compensation of land owners or lawful users in connection with licenced mineral activities. Those other detailed provisions on reconciling temporary access rights to land under a prospecting/reconnaissance licence with other existing and prospective lawful uses of the land are crucial to a successful outcome and the avoidance of conflict among competing land uses.

24.5 Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) No prospecting/reconnaissance licence shall authorise the holder of the licence to prospect over an area of land that is, or forms part of -

(a) An exploration area, a mining area, a retention area or a location licence area; or

(b) a forest reserve, game reserve, national park, or an urban centre, unless the holder of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence has first given notice to and obtained permission from the relevant authorities and complies with any conditions imposed by such authorities.

(2) Where it is necessary to fly over any land for the purpose of exercising any right under a prospecting/reconnaissance licence, nothing in this section shall prevent any such flight from being undertaken, provided it is in accordance with the provisions of [relevant section] (requiring compliance with other applicable laws) of this [Act][Code][Law].

(3) The holder of a prospecting/reconnaissance licence shall-

(a) subject to section (1) of this article, carry on prospecting/reconnaissance operations in accordance with the licence;

(b) submit to the [Regulating Authority] quarterly, or at such other intervals as may be prescribed, geological and financial reports and such other information as may be prescribed by regulation;

(c) report any mineral discovery to the [Regulating Authority]; and

(d) remove on or before the expiration of the prospecting/reconnaissance operations, any camps, temporary buildings or installations which may have been erected; and shall repair or make good any damage caused to the surface of the land to the satisfaction of the [Regulating Authority].

Annotation

Drawn from Uganda’s mining law (2003), this example covers most of the requirements that would be considered best practice, particularly with respect to (a) areas that are off-limits and (b) site restoration.

Licensees are obligated to remove all equipment and structures used during the prospecting/reconnaissance operation and repair any damage to the surface.