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Part B: Mineral Rights - Part B-1: Mineral Licences - Prospecting/Reconnaissance - 24. Prospecting/Reconnaissance Licencing | 24.9 Suspension of Licence

When the Regulating Authority temporarily prohibits operations under a prospecting/reconnaissance licence, due to the licence holder’s failure to meet certain obligations or external circumstances that create dangerous conditions (e.g. conflict), this is referred to as suspension of the prospecting/reconnaissance licence. Suspension provisions should address the grounds for and length of the suspension, the authority empowered to order a suspension, what the licence holder must do in order to have the suspension lifted, and the related notification procedures. The suspension provisions may also specify whether time lost will be added to the duration of the licence term once the suspension is lifted. Suspension is a temporary sanction that can be removed once remediation or correction of the ground for the suspension has occurred; whereas revocation of the licence is a final sanction that terminates the rights of the licence holder definitively.

24.9 Example 1:

Article [_]

(1) The [Regulating Authority], or any person authorised by the [Regulating Authority], may, in writing, order reconnaissance, exploration or mining operations to be temporarily suspended on an emergency basis, regardless of whether such operations are authorized by a mineral right, until such arrangements are made that are in the Regulating Authority’s opinion necessary to prevent danger to life, property or the environment or to comply with this [Act][Code][Law].

(2) The [Regulating Authority] may cancel or vary the terms of any temporary suspension order.

(3) The [Administrative Reviewer] shall have the power to confirm a temporary suspension order made by the [Regulating Authority] and may not delegate this power.

(4) A temporary suspension order shall lapse after twenty one days of its issuance, unless it is confirmed, in writing, by the [Administrative Reviewer].

(5) The [Administrative Reviewer] after consultation with the [Regulating Authority] may suspend a mineral right if the holder-

(a)fails to make any of the payments required by or under this [Act][Code][Law] on the date due;

(b)fails to meet any prescribed minimum annual programme of work or work expenditure requirement;

(c)grossly violates health and safety regulations or causes environmental harm;

(d)employs or makes use of child labourers;

(e)fails to submit reports required by this [Act][Code][Law];

(f)contravenes any of the provisions of this [Act][Code][Law] or the conditions of his mineral right or the provisions of any other enactment relating to mines and minerals;

(g)dies and his heir or successor in title is not qualified under this A[Act][Code][Law] to hold the mineral right, unless an application is received from the heir or successor within ninety days of the death to transfer the right to a third party who is so qualified and accepts all duties under the right;

(h)becomes an un-discharged bankrupt or becomes of unsound mind;

(i)makes any statement to the [Regulating Authority] in connection with his mineral right which he knows or ought to have known to be false;

(j)fails to substantially comply with the terms of a community development agreement when required by this [Act][Code][Law] to do so;

(k)for any reason becomes ineligible to apply for a mineral right under section [_] (listing the grounds for ineligibility).

(6) The [Administrative Reviewer] shall, before suspending any mineral right, give notice to the holder in such a manner as shall be prescribed and shall, in such a notice require the holder to remedy in not less than thirty calendar days any breach of the conditions of his mineral right.

(7) If the holder of a mineral right fails to remedy any failure or contravention specified in paragraphs (c), (d) and (k) of subsection (1), the [Administrative Reviewer] may, by notice to the holder thereof, suspend the mineral right forthwith.

Annotation

Drawn from Sierra Leone’s mining law (2009), this example provides for both (a) temporary suspensions of operations on an emergency basis for 21 days by the Regulating Authority and (b) a longer term suspension of mining rights on the non-compliance grounds stated in subsection 5 by the Administrative Reviewer, after consultation with the Advisory Board. The “Administrative Reviewer” as used in this example is the administrative authority that is the immediate superior of the Regulatory Authority in the administrative hierarchy. The provision in the example also gives the Administrative Reviewer the power to extend a temporary suspension by confirming it in writing.

In the case of a long-term suspension, the mining rights holder is provided with notice and an opportunity to cure the breach of obligation within thirty days before the suspension takes effect. The suspension may be the precursor to cancellation of the mineral right if the reason for the suspension is not corrected on a timely basis.

24.9 Example 2:

Article [_]

(1) Without prejudice to any other provisions of this [Act][Code][Law], upon the written approval of the [Regulating Authority], the Mining Cadastre Office may suspend a mining right for a period not exceeding sixty days if the holder-

(a)fails to make any payments required by or under this [Act][Code][Law] on the due date; or

(b)has breached any condition of the mining right;

(c)has contravened any provisions of this [Act][Code][Law];

(d)has failed to comply with any lawful order given In connection with his operations;

(e)makes any statement to the Mining Cadastre Office which he knows or ought to have known to be false; or

(f) for any reason becomes ineligible to apply for a mining right under the provisions of this [Act][Code][Law].

(2) A mining right shall only be suspended after thirty days’ notice of the intention to suspend the mining right containing in detail the grounds thereof is given to the holder and during the period fixed the holder has failed to remedy the breach or remove the grounds for suspension within the required period.

Annotation

Drawn from Nigeria’s mining law (2007), this example provides the grounds for suspension of mining rights which apply to reconnaissance permits because they are mining rights under the law. The mining law contains additional provisions on the suspension of certain mineral rights that do not apply to prospecting/reconnaissance licences.

Like the provision in the Sierra Leone law, this provision requires notice to the licence holder and an opportunity to cure the breach before the decision on suspension is taken. Only if the holder fails to take the necessary remedial action within the thirty day notice period is the licence suspended. In this example, the notice must be given by the Mining Cadastre; and the length of the suspension period is set in the law as 60 days in all of the cases listed.

Failure to remedy the ground for the suspension during the suspension period may lead to revocation of the licence.