DRC laws & regulations

DRC Acquisition of Mining Rights

Two types of titles are available to mining companies:

  1. Research titles
  2. Exploitation titles

Both types of mining company titles are granted on a "first-come, first-served" basis under normal circumstances. In rare circumstances, the ministry may submit certain deposits or areas to tender. A research permit can take a maximum of 47 days to obtain and an exploitation permit may be obtained in a maximum of 252 days.

Exploitation & exploration licenses in the DRC

The recipient of a research title must commence exploration within a 6-month window from title approval date in order for the title to remain valid. An exploitation license has a 3-year window within which work must commence to maintain legal status.

Surface duty per square must be paid at the Mining Registry. Infrastructure planning, environmental, cultural heritage and health and safety requirements must also be followed. Foreign and domestic companies share the same process within the formal mining sector.

Informal, or "artisanal" miners, however, must be DRC nationals. Some foreign companies may be requested to establish a local domestic partner to obtain an exploitation permit and may be required to transfer 5% (non-dilutable) of its share capital to the state.

DRC grants titleholders exploitation rights

According to the Land Law No. 73-021 of July 20, 1973, the state has the exclusive, inalienable and imprescriptible property of the land. Surface rights and land rights are differentiated.

Exploitation rights, with permission, typically grant the titleholder the opportunity to occupy the land and create the necessary infrastructure and transport for business activities. Liabilities for these activities and any potential effects on the occupants of the land are the responsibility of the titleholder, even if all activities are authorized.

In the event of a dispute, the Mining Code has provisions for judicial and arbitral recourse.

DRC duties, royalties & taxes

The Mining Code is thorough in its detail of taxes, duties and royalties to be paid. It also guarantees a 10-year lock-in period of rates as protection to those owning titles in the event of changes to the code.

DRC environment, health & safety regulation

Environment, health and safety issues are covered in the Mining Code and Mining Regulation. Additionally, elements of Law No. 011-2002 of August 29, 2002 of the Forestry Code may apply for environmental issues.

The Mining Environment Protection is the regulatory body that oversees environmental issues and the Directorate of Mines oversees health and safety matters.

Environmental impact study & management plan are mandatory

In order to obtain an exploitation permit a company must receive prior approval of an environmental impact study (EIS) and an environmental management plan (EMP).

While full-blown exploitation operations require both the approval of a code of conduct and a mitigation and rehabilitation plan (MRP) prospecting and small-scale exploitation permits are only subject to codes of conduct. Approval of an MRP can take a maximum of 24 days.

Resources:
McGuireWoods.com (broken link) (must be registered)