It is necessary to obtain a lease or licence from the Minister to work minerals. The exclusive right to work minerals vest in the Minister. (1979 act)
The Minister may grant a lease or license to a mining company to operate minerals. Leases may be limited to the land or part of land comprising the minerals.
The legislation provides for
- State licenses
- State mining leases
- Unworked mineral licenses
- State leases on licenses.
The licences are granted on such terms and conditions to the fees as the Minister thinks proper. The Minister may take an interest in the workings of the minerals. The Minister must take account of various matters including the general economic and strategic advantage of the minerals being available for use in State as raw materials
Where a mining company obtains a lease to work minerals, it may need to obtain a lease or license from the land over or purchase the land. There is no compulsory acquisition in respect of the land.
An owner of land under which minerals lie may be entitled to compensation. The right to compensation may be transferred with or without the lands. Compensation is determined by the Mining Board. Persons aggrieved may apply to the High Court to settle their dispute.
Compensation should be fair and reasonable in all the circumstances including a proportion of the net profits arising in consequence of the working of the minerals by the Minister or the lessee, attributable to the minerals as if they existed in the land in their natural condition prior to the working. Compensation may be periodical or by way of a lump sum.
Where the Minister has acquired minerals under an acquisition order, he may grant a State acquired minerals licence to exercise exclusive mining rights. Where such a licence has been granted, an ancillary mining facilities licence to use land part of the land may also be granted.
The terms of mining facility licences are determined by the Minister/Department. The licence grants th licensee the right for the period specified in the licence, the exclusive mining right and the right to work the minerals.
The subsidiary licence grants rights to use land specified for the purpose of working the minerals and exercising the exclusive mining right. Where damage is caused to the surface of land, minerals are deposited water affected or nuisance is caused, the licensee must pay compensation for the damage.
Where the Minister is of the opinion that is in the public interest that a lease may be granted on terms are thought proper. The rent or consideration (if any) is as determined by the Minister in consultation with the Department of Finance, in certain circumstances.
The Ministers are to take account of the general advantages, that are likely to accrue to the State from the development of the minerals, including in particular that the minerals may be used as raw materials within the State.
Lessees of State mining leases must provide certain information to the Minister from time to time as required. It is an offence to fail or refuse to provide information, provide misleading information or otherwise fails to comply with the regulation.
The Minister may grant a State mining permission to work minerals in small quantities, where they are comprised within a deposit of State minerals and a person wishes to obtain permission to work in small quantities, and he satisfies the Minister on account of the small value or limited quantity or limited period, the permission required is of little importance and will not materially affect the deposit of State materials concerned. Where minerals are under lands owned by another Minister that other Minister must be consulted.
The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, sell or dispose of minerals mined or acquired. The proceeds belong to the State.
Where State minerals are under any land, the Department may, subject to the terms of any lease granted already, enter such land as may be necessary for working the mineral. Lessees of mining rights have equivalent rights of entry. Damage must be made good as above, including damage physically caused by working or incidental to the exercise of rights as well as nuisance et cetera. The Minister has powers to fence and secure shafts and abandoned mines.
The Mining Board is established by the Minerals Developments Act. The Mining Board may enter land to the purpose of undertaking its functions. It is an offence to obstruct or impede representative of the Board in exercising such rights.The Mining Board has powers to enter lands in order to make such investigations as are appropriate. It is an offence to impede a member of the Mining Board or its authorised persons in the exercise of their powers.
Where a person wishes to obtain an ancillary rights licence to exercise ancillary rights in relation to vehicles in the working of minerals he must apply to the Minister for a licence. Certain persons must be given notice of the application and they are entitled to make representations.
The right to grant an ancillary rights licence only applies if
- the applicant is a licensee entitled to work minerals concerned.
- the ancillary right is necessary for the proper and efficient working of the minerals
- it is not reasonably practicable to obtain the rights by private arrangement.
A person having an interest in land may obtain an order imposing restriction on mining under the land in order to secure sufficient support for buildings erected are intended to be erected. The e person concerned may apply to the Minister for preservation of support order in relation to the land or adjoining. The order must be
- necessary to because mining would prejudice the stability of buildings in relation to which it is sought.
- the application satisfies the Attorney General that he is not entitled to all the rights of support as would entitle him to relief as a matter of law and
- it is not reasonably practicable to make the arrangement by private agreement.
Where an application is made for any of the above licences or orders, there is provision after expiration of the requisite time for making representations by persons with an interest as set out in the legislation, to make the relevant decision taking account of the relevant representations. The relevant licence or order is only granted for the Minister is satisfied that it is required under the above criteria.
In case of an application for
- unworked minerals licence
- ancillary rights licence or
- preservation of support order is made to the Minister,
the Mining Board is generally required to hold an enquiry. Any person affected, having an interest in the land the subject of the application has a right to be hard and give evidence at the enquiry. Where the Mining Board. considers the application in its report to the Minister, it must specify
- whether the relevant conditions have been fulfilled,
- persons entitled to compensation
It should recommend conditions which should be specified in the order.
Once the Minister receives the report of the Mining Board, he must refuse or grant it or grant it subject to conditions.
Where buildings or proposed buildings are affected by the proposed letting down of the surface, the Minister must when determining whether the application should be granted, have regard to the relative values of the buildings and the minerals which would be required under such lands to retain the right of support.
The relevant licences or leases may only grant the rights which the State is entitled to grant. If any other legal obligations attached, they must be complied with.
Every licensee under an unworked minerals licence or ancillary rights licence must pay compensation to persons specified. Compensation in default of agreement is determined under the legislation.
Holders of licences are obliged to furnish the Minister with such information as may be required as specified in the requisition.
There are detailed provisions in respect of compensation in respect of land. Compensation is fixed in default of agreement by the Mining Board in accordance with the legislation. The Mining Board holds an enquiry and makes an award. The award must state.
- nature and amount of compensation
- name of persons to whom payments are made and are to be made
- allocation of compensation.
It is an offence for any person to work to or attempt to work any mineral without lawful authority.
Where a person proposes to sink a shaft or borehole to reach a depth of more than 20 feet, he must notify the Minister of his intention of carrying outing the sinking at least two weeks before commencing it.
He must keep a journal of the shaft or borehole. He must retain for at least two months of such longer period; such specimens of the strata so as may have been obtained in the course of sinking of the borehole either as cores or fragments.
Inspectors are entitled at all reasonable times have access to any shaft, borehole or bore. They may take copies of journals and inspect specimens so obtained.
Every other agent or manager of the mine must allow the inspector under legislation to have free access at all reasonable times to all underground or other workings. The must produce the requisite record. Failure of compliance or impeding and officer is offence.