Licensing in Liberia
The Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy (MLME) and the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) together grant concessions and mineral development agreements through a competitive auction system when licensing known mineral deposits, and on a first come, first served basis for areas that have yet to be explored. According to the United States Geological Survey, all companies seeking a mining license are required by environmental protection guidelines to submit an environmental and social impact assessment to be evaluated and approved by the government.
Planned frameworks in mineral policy
The 2010 Mineral Policy of Liberia states that "the principle of First-In-First-Assessed (FIFA) will form the basis for conferring mineral exploration rights over areas where the state’s mineral assets are unknown and a transparent and competitive auction system will be used to concession known mineral deposits under the PPCA." Application forms and license fees will be standardised, and the document goes on to say that the government is committed to creating a legal and regulatory framework for the mineral sector conducive to a stable business climate. This involves:
- an open, transparent and competitive auction procedure for known mineral deposits (guided by the PPCA)
- a predictable licensing system for unknown deposits, and
- clearly defined rules and regulations that set out transparent procedures for the allocation of rights and define the transition from exploration to exploitation rights
According to the Revenue Watch Institute, Liberia provides scant information on the licensing process before mining rights are granted. After rights are granted, the MLME publishes information on the number of bids received, bidding requirements, and winning bids, but the results of environmental impact assessments are not available online. Most mineral development agreements are published (and available on the website of the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative), and the MLME is launching a Mineral Cadaster Information Management System.