A Reconnaissance Licence confers on the holder the right to search for a specific mineral (or commodity) within the licence 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 one year and may be renewed by the Minister from time to time for periods up to one year at a time upon application by the holder.
The application for renewal must be made at least three months before the expiration of the licence. There is no legal limitation as to the size of the area over which a reconnaissance licence may be granted.
A Prospecting Licence gives the holder the exclusive right to search for specific minerals (or commodities) by the conduct of geological and geophysical investigations and to determine the extent and economic value of any deposit within the licence area. The initial grant of the licence is limited to three years and a maximum area of 150 km². These limits may, at the direction of the President of the Republic, be exceeded in any particular grant whenever the President considers it to be in the national interest so to do. A prospecting licence may be renewed for a maximum of two terms or for further periods of up to two years each. At each renewal, half the licence area is required to be shed off (relinquished) by the holder. If more than one prospecting licence is held, they may be treated as one area for purposes of shed-off.
The grant of 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 50 km² for a single grant or 150 km² for aggregate grants.
These limits may be exceeded in particular cases at the direction of the President if it is in the national interest.
Mineral rights governing 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. These licences are granted for a shorter duration, normally between three and five years, and over smaller areas of up to 10 km² maximum for a co-operative society of at least 10 members.
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 MINCOM, 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.
Though Law 153 applies generally to building and industrial minerals, the Minister is empowered to modify the provisions of the law in relation to industrial minerals. This power has, however, not been exercised.
The legislative framework for mining in Ghana is laid down in the Minerals and Mining Law, 1986, PNDCL 153 (Law 153) as amended by the Minerals and Mining Amendment Act 1993, Act 475 (Act 475) and modified by the provisions of the Constitution of 1993 (the Constitution). Within this legal framework, the State is the owner of all minerals occurring in their natural state within Ghana's land and sea territory, including its exclusive economic zone. All minerals in Ghana are vested in the President on behalf of and in trust for the people of Ghana. Thus, regardless of who owns the land upon or under which minerals are situated, the exercise of any mineral right requires, by law, a licence to be granted by the Minister for Mines (the sector Minister) who acts as an agent of the State for the exercise of powers relating to minerals. Mineral rights are legally defined to include the rights to reconnoitre, prospect for, and mine minerals. The sector Minister is also authorised to exercise, within defined limits, powers relating to the transfer, amendment, renewal, cancellation and surrender of mineral rights. The powers conferred upon the Minister must be exercised contingent upon the advice of the Minerals Commission (MINCOM), which has the authority under the Constitution to regulate and manage the utilisation of mineral resources and co-ordinate policies in relation to minerals. Law 153 specifies the forms of mineral rights that the sector Minister is empowered to grant, the duration of the grant, the size of the concessions, and eligibility criteria for the grantee, as well as the procedure for application for mineral rights. The Law also spells out in broad terms the rights and obligations of a holder of a mineral right and the terms and conditions upon which each mineral right grant should be made. A mineral right granted is not transferable or tradable in any form except with the prior written consent of the sector Minister.
There are a number of mining related laws and regulations that have been put in place to promote and regulate the extraction and marketing of various minerals in the country. The following is a summary of the various laws affecting the mining sector in Ghana. Principal Legislation Principal laws include:
· (i) Constitution, 1993
· (ii) Additional Profits Tax Law 1985 (PNDCL 122)
· (iii) Diamonds Decree 1972 (NRCD 32)
· (iv) Diamonds [Amendment] Law 1989 (PNDCL 159)
· (v) Gold Mining Products Protection Ordinance (Cap 149)
· (vi) Mercury Law 1989 (PNDCL 217)
· (vii) Minerals and Mining Law 1986 (PNDCL 153)
· (viii) Minerals and Mining Amendment Act 1994 (Act 475)
· (ix) Precious Minerals Marketing Corporation Law 1989 (PNDCL 219)
· (x) Rivers Ordinance (Cap 226)
· (xi) Small-Scale Gold Mining Law 1989 (PNDCL 218)
· (xii) State Gold Mining Corporation [Acquisition of Assets Amendment] Decree 1968 (NLCD 218). Subsidiary
Legislation Additional laws include:
· (i) Diamond Mining Industry Protection Regulations 1927
· (ii) Minerals (Offshore) Regulations 1963 (L.I. 257)
· (iii) Minerals Regulations 1937
· (iv) Minerals Regulations 1962 (L.I. 231)
· (v) Minerals Regulations 1963 (L.I. 253)
· (vi) Mining Regulations 1970 (L.I. 665)
· (vii) Mineral (Royalties) Regulations 1987 (L.I. 1349)
· (viii) Prospecting and Digging Licence Regulations 1950
· (ix) Transactions in Gold Regulations 1947.