There are four types of licence available for companies and individuals interested in exploration and development of mineral resources. A Prospecting Authorisation gives the holder the right to search for one or a number of minerals. It is non-exclusive but confers to the holder the rights to first refusal to an exclusive exploration permit within the limits and time validity of the Authorisation.
Prospecting Authorisations are valid for one year, renewable indefinitely for one year periods. Surface and underground prospecting is permitted, as is the use of remote sensing techniques. The objective of the prospecting programme must be stated in the application, although there are no fee or land holding requirements.
An Exploration Permit is valid for three-years, renewable for two further three-year periods subject to certain land holding reduction criteria and field works. The area held under a permit cannot exceed 2,000 km² in a rectangular block.
An Exploration Permit confers to the holder the right to dispose of any minerals obtained during exploration and testwork, and also confers the right to a Mining Permit if a viable reserve is discovered. Applications must stipulate the minerals sought (additional minerals can be included later), and a time and expenditure schedule. A variable fee (CFA F 300.000) is tied to the permit, and holders are required to submit progress reports to the Government on their activities.
A Mining Permit will be granted in the case of successful exploration, subject to the right of the Government to participate in the project. A ’small mine’ permit is valid for five years, renewable 3 times for five-year periods, while a ‘large mine’ permit lasts for 20 years initially, renewable 2 times per period of 10 years. Further extensions are possible if commercial reserves remain.
Companies applying for Mining Permits must conform to Nigerian Company law. The Government requires an initial 10 % share in the mining project, free of all costs, which can be later increased to a maximum of 33 % through share purchases. Fees for mining permits are around $1,400 and $2,000 for small and large mining permits respectively.
The fourth type of licence is the Authorisation for Small-Scale Mining, and it concerns artisanal level of production.
The above data is subject to review by the Government at any time so it is worthwhile contacting CFG to ascertain the true position at the time of applying as other routes may be on offer.