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Practice Area Definition

Mining Law Definition

Mining activities occur in a sequence: first, land acquisition and exploration; followed by development and construction; operations; and closure. “Mining Law” encompasses the laws and regulations which are relevant at these various stages.

Mining Law may be both domestic, where the project is in Canada or the mining company is Canadian, and foreign, where the project is outside Canada.

At the land acquisition stage, the mining lawyer works with the legal and regulatory regime for acquiring mineral title and surface access either directly from governmental authorities or, after appropriate title searches have been conducted, from third parties. The form and security of mineral and surface tenures and the method for obtaining them from a government vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In foreign jurisdictions the Canadian mining lawyer will help the client to understand the political or country risk and to engage local counsel to assist. The mining lawyer will be aware of foreign ownership restrictions and will work with tax specialists to structure the investment in the most efficient way. The mining lawyer also will advise on foreign corrupt practices legislation and relevant principles.

At the exploration stage, Mining Law may include the negotiation of option and exploration joint venture agreements. These agreements are very often between junior companies, which may have acquired the mineral property and carried out preliminary exploration work, and major companies which have the financial and technical strength to develop the project. The exploration stage also comprises obtaining requisite permits and authorizations under local law and advising on maintenance of title and reclamation and reporting obligations.

In the project development phase, the mining lawyer works on environmental assessment and regulatory permitting, impact benefit agreements with indigenous groups to obtain the project’s “social licence”, and support or stability agreements with local government. Human resources, industrial relations, and OH&S policies are developed by labour and employment lawyers, but in consultation with the mining lawyer. Litigation may arise as NGOs or other stakeholders oppose the project, and the mining lawyer will play an important supporting role.

Project development may also involve the mining lawyer working on arrangements for project financing, metal stream agreements and royalties, off-take agreements, and investments by strategic partners.

As the project moves from development to construction, the mining lawyer advises on engineering and procurement contracts, construction management contracts, and service agreements and other supply chain matters.

Once the project is in operation, the mining lawyer may work on custom milling, smelting and refining contracts, product sales agreements, transportation agreements, etc. There may be emergencies or other situations involving people or the environment that require response.

At closure, the mining lawyer will be involved in the legal aspects of site rehabilitation, closure of work permits and return of reclamation bonds, sale of plant and equipment, demobilization of the work force, and termination or wind down of contracts.

At some point in the life of the mine it may be sold or its ownership restructured. Mining Law includes mergers and acquisitions in this context.
Mining activities occur in a sequence: first, land acquisition and exploration; followed by development and construction; operations; and closure. “Mining Law” encompasses the laws and regulations which are relevant at these various stages.

Mining Law may be both domestic, where the project is in Canada or the mining company is Canadian, and foreign, where the project is outside Canada.

At the land acquisition stage, the mining lawyer works with the legal and regulatory regime for acquiring mineral title and surface access either directly from governmental authorities or, after appropriate title searches have been conducted, from third parties. The form and security of mineral and surface tenures and the method for obtaining them from a government vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In foreign jurisdictions the Canadian mining lawyer will help the client to understand the political or country risk and to engage local counsel to assist. The mining lawyer will be aware of foreign ownership restrictions and will work with tax specialists to structure the investment in the most efficient way. The mining lawyer also will advise on foreign corrupt practices legislation and relevant principles.

At the exploration stage, Mining Law may include the negotiation of option and exploration joint venture agreements. These agreements are very often between junior companies, which may have acquired the mineral property and carried out preliminary exploration work, and major companies which have the financial and technical strength to develop the project. The exploration stage also comprises obtaining requisite permits and authorizations under local law and advising on maintenance of title and reclamation and reporting obligations.

In the project development phase, the mining lawyer works on environmental assessment and regulatory permitting, impact benefit agreements with indigenous groups to obtain the project’s “social licence”, and support or stability agreements with local government. Human resources, industrial relations, and OH&S policies are developed by labour and employment lawyers, but in consultation with the mining lawyer. Litigation may arise as NGOs or other stakeholders oppose the project, and the mining lawyer will play an important supporting role.

Project development may also involve the mining lawyer working on arrangements for project financing, metal stream agreements and royalties, off-take agreements, and investments by strategic partners.

As the project moves from development to construction, the mining lawyer advises on engineering and procurement contracts, construction management contracts, and service agreements and other supply chain matters.

Once the project is in operation, the mining lawyer may work on custom milling, smelting and refining contracts, product sales agreements, transportation agreements, etc. There may be emergencies or other situations involving people or the environment that require response.

At closure, the mining lawyer will be involved in the legal aspects of site rehabilitation, closure of work permits and return of reclamation bonds, sale of plant and equipment, demobilization of the work force, and termination or wind down of contracts.

At some point in the life of the mine it may be sold or its ownership restructured. Mining Law includes mergers and acquisitions in this context.