Mining and Minerals Law (2000)

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Liberia's Mining and Minerals Law of 2000 provides for mineral ownership, administration, eligibility for rights regarding exploration, mine and quarry operation, environmental protection, common licensing provisions, protected zones, occupant and owner rights, public use of mining infrastructure, environmental considerations, trade, inspections and fiscal provisions, according to the Revenue Watch Institute.[1]

As of October 2013 it remained in force but the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy was working toward updating it through a series of regional and national consultations with representatives from government parastatals, the public and private sectors, academia, civil society, political parties and the international community.[2]

Key provisions

The law gives holders of mineral rights ownership of the minerals they extract. It establishes six licence types:[3]

  • prospecting licence
  • reconnaissance licence, which allows for geologic assessments to determine the potential of a maximum area of 2,000 square kilometers, with an initial validity of six months[4]
  • exploration licence, which gives the right to conduct pilot mining during exploration of a maximum area of 1,000 square kilometers, with an initial validity of three years renewable for additional two year periods[5]
  • Class A mining licence, required for large-scale mining. The license lasts for up to 25 years and is renewable for further 25-year periods subject to demonstration of mineral reserves
  • Class B mining licence, required for small-scale industrial mining (refers to the holding of five or more Class C licenses)[6]
  • Class C mining licence, required for small scale or artisanal mining (up to 25 acres). Term of one year, renewable for further one year terms[7]

According to Mining Journal, the most important licences for large-scale projects are the exploration licence and the Class A licence.[8] The law states in section 6.6 that license applicants "shall have concluded a Mineral Development Agreement or other agreement with the Government in order to receive either an Exploration License or a Class A Mining License"[9] (though, according to the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI), applications for an MDA actually originate when a company has performed sufficient exploration and has determined that it has made a commercial discovery).[10] The MDA is initially for 25 years but is renewable until the reserves are exhausted and most of the terms are negotiable.[11]

Treatment of artisanal mining

The 2011 book Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael notes that the law is silent on artisanal and small scale mining (ASM),[12] even though some 30,000 to 45,000 Liberians are engaged in ASM, according to the World Bank, and they account for about 90 percent of the diamonds produced in Liberia.[13] The authors claim that the law does not define the differences between small scale and artisanal mining, which has "a huge impact upon mining operations, their governance and the establishment of informal frameworks".[14]

The authors note several hurdles artisinal miners in Liberia face. The requirement of a prospecting work plan precludes most artisanal applications in a country with a 55 percent national literacy rate.[15] They also point out that the standard size of land allocated in a class C license is 25 acres, which many artisanal miners lack the financing to exploit (by comparison, a common plot size allocated to artisanal miners in Sierra Leone is one acre). There is another dilemma: the size of the land plot requires some artisanal miners to use heavy machinery, which contradicts their "C" classification. Artisanal miners operating as a cooperative may apply for special permission to use heavy machinery by submitting detailed operational and environmental management plans, and if accepted, become legally responsible for the maintenance of all feeder roads connecting neighboring towns and villages.[16]

The 2010 Mineral Policy calls for these and other legal requirements to be reviewed "with a view to simplifying them and catering to illiterate citizens."[17]

Reform plans

The Liberian Cabinet, chaired by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has publicly mandated that an updated version of the law adjust the current mining regime to account for artisanal mining.[18]

In November 2012, Lands and Mines Minister Patrick Sendolo said that the government planned to conduct a nationwide stakeholders' consultation process to review Liberia's mineral laws.[19] According to Liberian Daily New Democrat, Sendolo described the law as outdated and said it was a central part of "the inadequacy of the legal and regulatory framework governing the mining sector", and "one of the key constraints in achieving our ambitions".[20]

A January 2013 post on the website of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism stated that the process of revising the law would be an inter-governmental effort headed by the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy and would include the Ministries of State, Justice, Finance, Labor, Internal Affairs, Planning and Economic Affairs, the National Investment Commission, the Law Reform Commission, the National Bureau of Concession, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Public Procurement and Concession Commission. The post quoted Sendolo as saying "in addition, to broad cross-governmental involvement, the revision process will ensure that the views of all Liberians including community members, local authorities, traditional leaders, women, youth, civil society organizations, the private sector and international partners will be heard and considered".[21]

External links

Liberia Minerals and Mining Law 2000

References

  1. 2000 Minerals and Mining Law for Liberia Revenue Watch Institute, 31 December 1999.
  2. Liberia preparing to update mineral and mining law Diamond Intelligence, 22 July 2013
  3. West Africa: Guinea and Liberia attracting investment Mining Journal, 23 November 2012.
  4. Mineral Sector MLME website, retrieved 24 October 2013.
  5. Mineral Sector MLME website, retrieved 24 October 2013.
  6. Diamonds, Rice, and a 'Maggi Cube': Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael, p. 15. 2011.
  7. Diamonds, Rice, and a 'Maggi Cube': Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael, p. 15. 2011.
  8. West Africa: Guinea and Liberia attracting investment Mining Journal, 23 November 2012.
  9. Liberian Mining and Minerals Law (2000) Revenue Watch Institute, 3 April 2000.
  10. Post Award Process Audit - Final Report LEITI website, May 2013.
  11. West Africa: Guinea and Liberia attracting investment Mining Journal, 23 November 2012.
  12. Diamonds, Rice, and a 'Maggi Cube': Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael, p. 15. 2011.
  13. Investing Mineral Wealth in Development Assets: Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone The World Bank, June 2012.
  14. Diamonds, Rice, and a 'Maggi Cube': Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael, p. 15. 2011.
  15. Diamonds, Rice, and a 'Maggi Cube': Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael, p. 15. 2011.
  16. Diamonds, Rice, and a 'Maggi Cube': Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael, p. 16. 2011.
  17. Diamonds, Rice, and a 'Maggi Cube': Artisanal Diamond Mining and Livelihoods in Liberia by Steven and Koen Vlassenroot Van Bockstael, p. 16. 2011.
  18. Liberia preparing to update mineral and mining law Diamond Intelligence, 22 July 2013
  19. Liberia: Mineral Law Under Review AllAfrica, 9 November 2012.
  20. Liberia: Mineral Law Under Review AllAfrica, 9 November 2012.
  21. Lands, Mines Embarks On Mineral Law Reform: Plans Confab With Cross-Govt. Agencies Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, 26 January 2013.