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 Types Of Mineral Rights, Licenses And Permits

 

A Reconnaissance Licence confers on the holder the right to search for a specific mineral (or commodity) within the licensed area by geochemical and photo-geological surveys or other remote sensing techniques. Except as otherwise provided in the licence, it does not permit drilling, excavation or other sub-surface techniques. The licence is normally granted for up to 12 months and may be renewed once only by the Minister responsible for mines for a period not exceeding 12 months upon an application by the holder. The application for renewal must be made at least three months before the expiration of the initial term of the licence. The size of the area over which a reconnaissance licence may be granted is limited to 5,000 contiguous blocks or 1,050 km².

A Prospecting Licence gives the holder the exclusive right to search for specific minerals (or commodities) by conducting geological, geophysical and geochemical investigations to determine the extent and economic value of any deposit within the licensed area. Drilling, excavation or other sub-surface techniques are permitted under the prospecting licence. A prospecting licence is granted for a period not exceeding three (3) years over a maximum area of 750 contiguous blocks or 157.5 km2 and may be renewed for a maximum of two terms or for further periods of up to three (3) years each. The holder of a prospecting licence shall, prior to or at the expiration of the initial term, surrender not less than half the number of blocks of the prospecting area so long as a minimum of one hundred and twenty five blocks or 26.3 km² remain subject to the licence and the blocks form not more than three discrete areas each consisting of:
 a single block, or
 a number of blocks each having a side in common with at least one other block in that area.

A Mining Lease gives the holder the right to mine, win or extract specified minerals (or commodities) within the lease area. The lease may be granted to the holder of a prospecting licence or any person who establishes to the satisfaction of the Minister that a mineral to which the lease relates exists in commercial quantities within the proposed lease area and can be mined at a profit. The lease is issued for up to thirty years subject to renewal for a further thirty-year term. The size of the area in respect of which a lease may be granted is limited to 300 contiguous blocks or 63 km² for a single grant. A person other than the holder of a reconnaissance or prospecting licence may apply for a mining lease in respect of a mineral specified in the application over land that is not the subject of a mineral right for the same mineral applied for.
 
A Restricted Licence or Lease for Industrial Mineral right governs the exploration and exploitation of industrial minerals and building materials are granted through the issuance of a Restricted Licence or Lease. A Restricted Licence may be granted as in the case of other minerals for the different stages of mineral operations (that is, reconnaissance, prospecting and production) in the form of a Restricted Reconnaissance Licence, a Restricted Prospecting Licence or a Restricted Mining Lease. The Restricted Reconnaissance Licence is normally granted for up to 12 months and may be renewed once only by the Minister responsible for mines for a period not exceeding 12 months upon an application by the holder. The application for renewal must be made at least three months before the expiration of the initial term of the licence. The Restricted Prospecting Licence is normally granted for a period not exceeding three (3) years and may be renewed for a maximum of two terms or for further periods of up to three (3) years. The Restricted Mining Lease is normally granted for a period not exceeding fifteen (15) years and may be renewed for the same number of years. Mineral rights for building and industrial minerals are reserved for Ghanaian citizens except where an exemption is made by the Minister, on the advice of the Minerals Commission, as being in the public interest. A local authority, owner or lawful occupier of any land is permitted to prospect for and mine, on any land owned or occupied by him, any building or industrial mineral for use in building, road making or agricultural purposes. A person who is not a Ghanaian may apply for a mineral right in respect of industrial minerals provided the proposed investment in the mineral operations is Ten Million United States Dollars (US$10 million) or above.

Small Scale Mining Licence governs winning, mining and production of minerals such as gold, diamonds, salt, kaolin, silica, sand, brown clay, rock aggregates and crushed rocks by an effective and efficient method and must observe good mining practices, health and safety rules and pay due regard to the protection of the environment during mining operations. A licence is granted to a person, a group of persons, a co-operative society or a company for a period not more than five years from the date of issue in the first instance and may be renewed on expiry for a further period that the Minister may determine. The size of the area in respect of which a licence may be granted for small-scale mining shall not exceed 25 acres (10 Hectares). Only Ghanaians of at least 18 years can be granted Small Scale Mining Licence.

The Mine Support Service Company Licence is line with Section 59 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). The Minerals Commission registers interested investors to provide approved services to companies operating within the mining industry. The approved activities which qualify for registration include:            
 Contract Mining
 Drilling and Blasting
 Manufacturing of Explosives
 Mineral Assay Laboratory
 Fabrication of Mining Equipment
 Supply of Mining Equipment
 Mining Consultancy Services
Application for registration is made to the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission. The registration is for a period of one year and may be renewed for additional terms.
The Minerals Purchase and Export, Sell or Disposal Licence is in line with Sections 6 and 104 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). The Government of Ghana grants licence to interested investors to buy, refine and export gold from Ghana. Application for the licence is made to the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission for review and subsequent recommendation to the Minister responsible for mines. The licence is normally granted for a period of three years and may be renewed by the Minister for additional terms. 
 
Shipments of rough diamonds to and from Ghana are subjected to rules and regulations as prescribed and shall be in accordance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
 
A Recommendation for Residence/Work Permit is made by the Minerals Commission to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for the grant of Work/Residence permit to expatriate personnel whose services are required by companies operating within the mining sector. However, in line with section 105 (2) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), which enjoins holders of mineral right to give preference in employment in all phases of their operations, to citizens to the maximum extent possible and consistent with safety, efficiency and economy, the Commission scrutinizes all applications which are submitted for recommendation letters to ensure that only expatriates whose engagements are extremely necessary are recommended for the permit.
 
Import Duty Exemption is in accordance with Section 29 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), where the holder of a mineral right may be granted exemption from payment of customs import duty in respect of plant, machinery, equipment and accessories imported specifically and exclusively for the mineral operations. Consequently, the Commission, through the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) system facilitates standardised procedures and criteria for granting exemptions for import duties and Value Added Tax (VAT) in respect of plant, machinery, equipment and accessories imported specifically and exclusively for mineral operations.  The system enables importers, clearing agents, logistical companies etc., to interact with the Minerals Commission in the exemption process. Applications for exemptions are made through the system. Approval for the exemption is also done online, except in special circumstances, where an item may not be on the mining list and yet it is used for mining operation. In that case the Commission may recommend for the grant of the exemption. The Commission charges concessionary fees in processing and approving the exemption application.

Temporary Air Survey Permit is issued/granted when the Commission receives an application for a recommendation  to the National Security Co-ordinator for the grant of an Airborne Geophysical Survey Permit to a valid holder- of a mineral licence to enable the holder conduct magnetic, spectrometry, gravity and electromagnetic or other airborne geophysical surveys over areas in Ghana. Normally, the survey makes use of local airports and airfields within the country under the supervision of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The data gathered from such surveys are used to delineate mineral, groundwater and hydrocarbon resources in rocks.
The interpretation of the resultant data usually provides the basic geophysical mapping information on which detailed follow-up ground geophysical surveys are conducted for minerals discovery. Applicants are required to hand over the data gathered to the Government of Ghana for integration into the country’s airborne geophysical database after the applicant has used it for its exploration activities.
An Operating Permit is issued to an applicant who has been granted a mineral right in accordance with the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) to undertake a mining activity for a one (1) calendar year period.

 


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