PRESENTATION OF THE MINING CODE

I - HISTORICAL BACKGROUND.

1. The Principles.


Since its attainment of independence, Côte d'Ivoire initiated a voluntarist policy towards the management of the mining sector characterised by :
  • the adoption of an attractive mining code resulting from decree n° 64-249 of July 3rd, 1964 and from the enforcement orders of this decree ;
  • the establishment of a State-owned company responsible for promoting the State interest in the mining sector, the mining development company (SODEMI) ;
  • the adoption of a gradual development plan for the sector :

    • favouring the exploration and stock- taking of mineral resources ;
    • favouring a rational exploitation of the sector in the short term.
The objectives, concerning especially the first phase have been amply achieved as the work done today has shown the existence of very large deposits of iron, nickel, manganese, gold, diamond, dimension stones and of glass making sand and has opened the way to possible large scale exploitation of the sector.

2 - The Text.

The present mining act was mainly the result of :
  • Decree n° 64-249 of July 3rd, 1964 concerning the mining code ;
  • Decree n° 65-96 of March 26 th, 1965 laying down the enforcement conditions of the above mentioned Decree n° 64-249 of July 3rd, 1964 ;
  • Enforcement terms and conditions of the present Code especially the decision n° 806/FAEP/DMG of April 26 th, 1965 setting forth the form and the terms and conditions of processing the instructions relating to the mining regulation.
These texts have proved out of tune with the new requirements of the world mining conditions and especially with the developments of the mining legislation of countries which has registered a rapid and sustainable development of their mining sector.

Thus, a new mining Code has been adopted by the National Assembly (Parliament) and promulgated on July 18th, 1995 (Act n° 95-553).


II - MAIN OUTLINES OF THE NEW MINING CODE.

1- General.

The new mining legislation results from Act n° 95-553 of 18 th July 1995 relative to a mining Code.

The new mining Code attempts to make the mining activity more attractive to private investors by creating a better adjusted and coherent institutional framework. In this regard the Code :

  • deals with all mineral substances other than hydrocarbons, especially natural gas and petroleum which are dealt with by a specific regulation ;
  • hereafter applies to all investors, be they individual or legal entities, Ivorians or foreigners, residents or non residents ;
  • simplifies existing procedures by :
    • removing the mining concession scheme a cumbersome and complex procedure, for the benefit of a sole administrative title : the exploration and /or exploitation permit whose validity period matches, if necessary, with the life time of the mine ;
    • replacing the a priori controls of the former legislation by a posteriori control whose terms and conditions are clearly determined by the Code ;
    • reducing the treatment deadlines of the files from six (6) months to about six (6) weeks ;
  • offers optimal possibilities for mining exploitation by :
    • diversifying exploitation schemes ;
    • attaching particular importance to the exploration for economic viable deposits ;
    • allowing the holder of a mining permit to exploit all mineral substances discovered and not only those initially listed in the permit ;
    • warranting the acquisition of an exploitation title from the holders of exploration licences concerning the mineral substances discovered ;
    • authorising any transfer, transmission or waiver of mining titles in order to facilitate continuity in exploitation if necessary, by new investors.
  • sets forth a package of tax benefits and guarantees aiming at creating a particularly safe investment environment .

2 - Mining Schemes.

The Code sets two distinct mining schemes :
  • the mining title scheme ;
  • the mining authorization scheme.

A. THE MINING TITLE SCHEME.

This scheme relates to exploration and/or exploitation activities carried out on an industrial scale and requires the issuing of a permit.
  1. Exploration licence.

    The exploration licence deals with all activities aiming at proving the existence of deposits likely to be exploited and used on an industrial scale and requires the submission of a feasibility study on an industrial exploitation project of the deposit (s) discovered to the mining authority.

    The exploration licence is granted by decree. It is valid for three years and renewable by ministerial order twice for successive periods of two years and exceptionally for a third period of three years. It maximum validity period does not therefore exceed 10 years.

    The exploration licence is issued for an area comprised between a minimum limit and a maximum limit set by decree. It bestows its holder, on the area allocated with :

    • The exclusive right for exploring mineral substances ;
    • The exclusive right to use the substances extracted during the exploration and testing ;
    • The exclusive right, during the exploration stage, to apply for and obtain an exploitation permit for the deposits discovered.

    The exploration licence is a personal indivisible and transferable right. It may not be leased nor be mortgaged.

  2. The mining permit.

    The mining permit covers all industrial exploitation activities of the deposit (s) discovered.
    As such, it includes the authorization to :

    • Transport or have transported the mineral substances extracted, their derivatives, the metals and alloys from these substances up to their storing, processing or loading place ;
    • Direct the output toward the domestic or external markets ;
    • set up in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire processing, refining and manufacturing facilities for these substances.

    The mining permit is issued for the lifetime of the mine as indicated in the feasibility study though this initial validity period may not exceed 20 years. It is renewable by successive periods equivalent to the additional lifetime of the mine up to the depletion of the deposit (s).

    The mining permit is granted by decree after a public administrative inquiry aiming at helping the State to determine the conditions under which the exploitation shall be carried out. It is granted for an area comprised between a minimum limit and a maximum limit determined by decree.

    The mining permit constitutes a personal indivisible and transferable right. It may not be leased or mortgaged.

B. THE AUTHORIZATION SCHEME.

  1. Prospecting and searching authorization

    The mining Code has defined the prospecting and searching activities and distinguished them from exploration.

    These activities cover searching activities limited to surface works aiming at discovering simple indications of mineral substances contrary to exploring operations carried out both on the surface and in the bottom of the area with high-technology means and intended to prove the existence of economic exploitable deposits.

    The prospecting authorization is issued by the Mining Director. The searching authorization is subject to an order issued by the Minister in charge of mining.

    The prospecting authorization is issued for an area extending over one or several administrative regions. The searching authorization is issued for a maximum area of 5,000 km2.

    The prospecting or searching authorization is valid for one year renewable once for the same duration. The renewal is granted by the authority which has issued the authorization in the same condition.

    This de jure renewal in the area of prospecting is exceptional for searching operations.

    The authorization bestows its holder with a non exclusive prospecting or searching right valid for all mineral substances.

    It includes no special right for subsequently obtaining a mining title or an authorization to prospect on the right to use the substances discovered for commercial purposes.

    The authorization is strictly personal. It may not be transferred or leased mortgaged.

  2. Semi-industrial or small-scale mining authorization.
    Semi-industrial or small-scale mining activities are characterised by the exclusive use of manual and traditional technics and methods.

    These activities are reserved to :
    • Ivorian individual entities ;
    • Co-operatives with exclusive Ivorian participation ;
    • small - medium - scale enterprises under Ivorian law whose capital is exclusively owned by Ivorians.

    The authorization is granted by order of the Minister in charge of mining for a two years period renewable, in the same form, twice by successive periods of two years for an area covering 25 to 100 ha.

    The authorization bestows its holder with the exclusive right to exploit the substances discovered. On the contrary it contains no particular right to subsequently obtain a mining title.

    The authorisation is a personal and transferable right. Accordingly it may not be assigned or leased nor mortgaged.


3 - Taxes Benefits.

A - EXEMPTIONS.

The holders of a mining title are exempted beyond the exemptions set forth in the General Code of customs from:
  1. During the prospecting stage :
    • Half of the registration fees on the capital increase of their companies:
    • all duties and taxes (import duties and VAT) associated with the import of equipment, materials, plants and machinery required to implement.

    The approved project including spare parts for a value not exceeding 30 % of the CIF value of the capital goods.
  2. During the exploitation stage :

    Exemption from all duties and taxes (import duties and VAT) associated with the import of equipment, materials, plants and machinery required to implement the approved project including spare parts for a value not exceeding 30 % of the CIF value of the capital goods.

    The exemptions granted under both stages do not apply to :
    • import goods having equivalents made in Côte d'Ivoire and available at conditions at least equivalent;
    • Vehicles for passengers and cargo transport ;
    • And other furnishing items.

B - TEMPORARY ADMISSION.

Capital goods imported by a holder of mining licence and which can be reexported or transferred after utilisation may benefit from the temporary admission scheme subject to the payment of a lump sum guarantee, the amount of which is fixed by decree.


4 - Guarantees.

A - FOREIGN EXCHANGE REGULATION.

The holder of a mining licence or authorization may :

  • open and operate in Côte d'Ivoire and elsewhere bank accounts in local or foreign currencies ;
  • receive in Côte d'Ivoire or abroad any funds obtained or borrowed abroad, including the revenues from the sales of their output :
  • operate any capital transfers ;
  • pay any invoice abroad. Free transfer is extended to the licence or authorization.

B - SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES.

Differences arising from the implementation of the mining Code provisions shall be settled through mutual agreement between the State and the beneficiaries of a mining licence or authorization and, if necessary, in the last resort by the competent Ivorian legal authorities or by the Court of arbitration in accordance with the Ivorian Law.


Copyright © 2007 Ambassade de Côte d'Ivoire New Delhi. Tous droits réservés.