Africa is undoubtedly a rich and blessed continent among the continents of the world and this is evident in its rich mineral industry. 

The mineral industry in Africa is the largest in the world and Africa boasts of one of the biggest reserves of bauxite, diamond, phosphate and many other minerals. It also has large reserves of iron ore, zinc, gold, magnesium and many more.

Gold, one of the natural minerals Africa has in abundance, is a precious yellow metal that exists in free form as nuggets or grains, and sometimes in combination with other metals like copper.

It is considered quite valuable since it was first discovered centuries ago and has been an acceptable means of exchange of goods and services even to this time.

The mining and production of gold is a business that is now in operation on a global scale in the bid to meet the constantly increasing demand for gold as opposed to decades ago when the majority of gold in the world was mined from South Africa.

It is estimated that a total of about 197,576 tonnes of gold has been mined throughout history since 1950 and amazingly almost all of this gold is still available in one form or another owing to the indestructible nature of gold. 

Are There Laws That Guide Gold Mining Across The World?

Mining law is a section of the law that affects mining, minerals and natural resources. It usually covers issues like mining rights, ownership, licensing, environmental challenges and health and safety impacts.

The gold market is a thriving one and to ease transactions and ensure smooth business all in all some laws and regulations guiding it. 

However, there are no all-encompassing global laws or regulations for the gold market but many parts of it are bound by national laws and regulations. There are also voluntary codes of conducts that contribute to smooth transactions. 

National mining laws usually vary from country to country but typically cover areas such as the licensing process, ownership of land, environmental rules, health and safety regulations, and tax and royalty payments.

There are also regulations that ensure that gold mining is done responsibly, either by individuals or companies, to avoid conflict or socio-economic problems. 

One example of these regulations is the new Conflict Minerals Regulation that was signed into place across the European Union(EU) in June 2017 and became fully effected and enforced on the 1st of January 2021. The aim of the Conflict Minerals Regulations is to stop the trade of some particular minerals which are used to sometimes finance unauthorized armed fight issues or are involved in forcing people into illegal labour. The minerals that brought to light the necessity of the Conflict Minerals Regulations, in particular, are tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold which are also known as the 3TG minerals.

The Conflict Minerals Regulation is quite important because, in politically unstable nations, the trade and mining of minerals can be used as a finance network for unauthorized armed groups, increase the occurrence of forced and child labour and the abuse of human rights while also supporting corruption and illegal/unlawful monetary transactions.

These conflict minerals are used in commonly used products including phones, automobiles and jewellery and it is basically impossible for any consumer to know if a product they have purchased legally is going to be a source of funds for violent crimes, abuse of human rights or other crimes home or abroad.

Gold Mining Laws Across Africa

The socio-economic benefits and opportunities that mining affords are too good to pass up by many countries but these mining activities need to be regulated and guided by the law. 

Many countries in Africa have either just introduced new mining laws or are currently working on improving these mining laws to encourage investment. A lot of support has been offered by institutions like the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, to develop transparent and investor-focused mining laws. 

Also, at the governmental level, many African countries have devised mining concessions and specific import duty exemptions to encourage the interest in investment in infrastructure and mining exploitation by foreign investors.

These are some of these mining laws for different African countries:

  • South Africa

Themining laws of South Africa are regulated by the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002(MPRDA). The MPRDA is considered with the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (NEMA) and this act regulates the environmental aspects of mining.

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy(MRE) alone can grant, deny, suspend or withdraw completely the mining rights of individuals or companies. The MRE department is in charge of ensuring complete compliance with the laws and regulations in place.

Some other regulations put in place include:

  • Mineral and Petroleum Resources Royalty Act, 2008 
  • Mineral and Petroleum (Administration) Act, 2008.
  • Mining Titles Registration Act, 1967
  • Mine Health and Safety Act,1996
  • Labour Relations Act, 1995
  • Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act,2013
  • Ghana

The mining industry in Ghana is placed under the authority of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources while the Minerals Commission regulates the mining laws. 

The major mining laws are the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, of which an amendment was made to have the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2015 and the Minerals Commission Act, 1993. All of these laws make it known that all minerals in their natural states are owned by the nation. They also make known the mining and mineral rights as well as the power of regulatory departments.

Some other legislations put in place are:

  • Water Resources Commission Act, 1996
  • Minerals Commission Act, 1993
  • Forestry Commission Act, 1999
  • Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994
  • Minerals Income Investment Fund Act,2018
  • Tanzania

The Tanzanian government retains ownership of all-natural resources within the nation. The Minister for Energy and Minerals and the Commissioner for the Mining Commission have the power to grant a wide range of licences to individuals or companies. 

Some of the licences awarded give individuals or companies the license to prospect, process, special mining licences and some others. The licensing grant is however on the basis that all the requirements and conditions under the Mining Act have been sufficiently met.

Some other legislations put in place are:

  • The Mining Act of 2010
  • Tanzania Investment Act of 1997
  • Land Act  (1999 and 2002)
  • Environment Management Act  No. 20 of 2004.
  • Nigeria

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999; the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2011 are the laws that guide the act of mining in Nigeria.

The government departments in charge of the mining laws and adherence to the laws are the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the Mining Cadastre Office, the Mines Inspectorate Department and the Mines Environmental Compliance Department.

Some other legislations put in place are:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment Act, 1922
  • Land Use Act, 1978
  • Nigerian (Export Incentives and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act
  • The Explosives Act
  • The Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act
  • The Companies Income Tax Act
  • The Finance Act,2020
  • Zambia

Miningin Zambia is regulated by the Mines and Minerals Development Act No.11, 2015 which is read with the Mines and Minerals Development Act No.16, 2016. These Development Acts replaced the Mines and Minerals Development Act No. 7,2008. 

The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development formerly called the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development is in charge of enforcing the Zambian mining laws and regulations.

A section of the Zambian Mines and Minerals Development Act reiterates that all the rights of ownership of natural resources remain in possession of the President of the nation on behalf of the country.

Other legislations put in place are:

  • Mines and Minerals Development Act  No. 7 of 2008
  • Mines and Minerals Development (General) Regulations, 2008   
  • Mines Acquisition(Special Provisions) Act
  • Mines and Minerals (Trading in Reserved Minerals) Regulations Statutory Instrument, 1995
  • Mines and Minerals (Application for Mining Rights) Regulations Statutory Instrument No.123, 1996

As an individual or company interested in a diversified investment portfolio it might be difficult for you to navigate the waters of gold mining laws and making mistakes could be quite costly. This would mean you’d need to work with a well-oiled team that has your best interests at heart.

Shikana Law Group is an independent law and investment firm based in Tanzania in East Africa. The firm specializes in commercial and business law and offers its services to clients even beyond its borders.  

Shikana Law group has a highly experienced and professional team that gives the best advice to their clients and ensures that only profitable and wise investment decisions are made.

As an individual or company interested in foreign investment in gold mining or any other business sector Shikana Law Group is your best bet as they help you understand the mining laws and regulations that concern your business and help you stay on the right side of the law while enjoying a profitable and diversified investment portfolio.

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