The legal requirements of mining


Can a woman become a miner?

Yes. Women and men are encouraged to do mining as long as they have reached the right age to work.

When can you become a miner?

You can become a miner as soon as you turn 18 years of age.

Which two important laws regulate mining?

  • The Mines and Minerals Act
  • The Environmental Management Act

What are the stages to follow for getting a mining permit?

Stage 1: Prospecting: A prospecting licence is issued by the Mining Commissioner’s office (currently housed under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development);

Stage 2: Pegging to mark the boundaries of the proposed mining area;

Stage 3: Registering a mine claim with the Mining Commissioner;

Stage 4: Getting a certificate of registration from the Mining Commissioner who issues a certificate to the would-be miner;

Stage 5: Carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) required by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA);

Stage 6: Getting EIA approval certificate; and

Stage 7: Mining begins.

Which permits do you require to start mining?

  • A prospecting licence;
  • A supporting letter from the District Administrator or Municipality to show that the land is open for mining;
  • A certificate of registration from the Mining Commissioner; and
  • An EIA approval certificate from EMA.

Which other permits do you require?

  • Licences from Environmental Management Agency EMA:
    • Solid waste disposal licence;
    • Hazardous waste licence;
    • Effluent disposal licence; and
    • Hazardous substances licence for their storage and use.
  • A permit to use and keep dynamites;
  • A permit to cut down trees in the mining location;
  • A permit to use water for mining purposes;
  • A permit to sell and buy gold; and
  • A permit to process gold.






What is legal mining?

It is mining that is done when a miner has the necessary permits to carry out mining.

What are the benefits of legal mining?

When you operate according to the law there are several benefits that you enjoy. These are:

  • When you are mining with a permit the law protects you;
  • You will not face arrest for mining illegally;
  • Your mining claim is safe and cannot be given to other miners;
  • You can apply to become a gold dealer. No one will cheat you on the price because you can sell your gold directly to Fidelity Printers and Refiners;
  • You can benefit from different training courses that are targeted to those who are in legal mining; and
  • You can become a member of an association and co-operative.


What are the benefits of becoming a member of an association on mining?

  • You can get help on applying for different mining permits;
  • You can have access to loans to buy or hire tools that are used for mining;
  • You can get trained on courses on mining; and
  • You can complain, discuss and raise sticking points to the Police or other Government Offices as a united group.


What are the courses you can be trained in?

The Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Police, EMA and NGOs can arrange courses for you such as:

  • Raising awareness on mining issues;
  • Increasing understanding of the law on mining;
  • The important steps that are required to get mining permits;
  • How to mine safely and taking care of the environment;
  • How to practice safer methods of processing minerals such as gold;
  • How to move away from actual mining into making jewellery;
  • How to keep dynamites in a safe way;
  • Dealing with domestic violence and sexual harassment;
  • How to form an association and co-operative on mining; and

The benefits of being a member of an association



 It involves the search for mineral deposits such as gold, diamond, tin, platinum and iron. It also involves reviewing of maps and reports. The mineral exploitation activities include:

Prospecting involves the searching for mineral deposits by taking soil samples to the laboratory to test for results to find out whether minerals are present. The search is done using maps. A prospecting licence is issued by the Mining Commissioner’s office.


Pegging:  Once prospecting has been done, a registered pegger marks out the boundaries of the proposed mining area.


Mine claim: It is the right the would-be miner is given through a permit over the mining location which shows that there are minerals present.

A certificate of registration:  The Mining Commissioner issues a certificate to the would-be miner to have the right to start mining.

An environment impact assessment involves pinpointing, listing and considering the likely effects of mining on the environment. It is used to reduce or prevent especially negative effects of mining on the environment before they occur. It measures the impact of mining on people, environment such as water, air and wildlife.


 This stage is important in that a prospective miner will learn the potential value of a mineral deposit. This will assist her/him in assessing whether mining is a profitable business venture. The factors that should be considered include:

  • Location of the mineral resource;
  • Type of mineral that is present;
  • How the mineral will be extracted;
  • The size of the mineral claim;
  • Market value of the mineral;
  • Type of mine;
  • Size of the mine; and
  • Whether there are access roads.

Mining related costs

  • Prospecting license fees;
  • Pegging costs;
  • Determination of the results of mineral deposits;
  • Mining certificate;
  • Environmental impact assessments (EIAs);
  • Annual fees for mining;
  • Fees for licences such as effluent and waste disposal;
  • Gold dealing licences such as gold buying licence; gold jewellery permit and custom milling licence;
  • Buying and hiring equipment;
  • Transporting the mineral ore to custom mills; and
  • Testing soil samples.


  • There are two types of mining. These are under ground and open pit or surface mining.
  • Mining operation involves digging and blasting of the soil and rocks; processing involves separating the rock from the material that has value that is known as ore. It is also depends on the mineral that is being mined.
  • The activities include hiring of tools such as compressors and drilling machines; buying of tools and explosives;   transportation of mineral ore to custom mills; processing and selling of minerals.


Mining comes to an end because there is no longer any presence of minerals in the mine. A mine is also closed when the market price of the mineral is very low and there is no profit earned from mining.

There is a need to deal with certain things such as buildings and other structures at the mine; waste that was generated during mining operation; open pits and mine shafts; and reclamation of degraded lands including tree planting.


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