EPL License in Namibia

Namibia Exclusive Prospecting Licences (EPL) License

What is the EPL License in Namibia?

The Exclusive Prospecting License is a license that confers exclusive mineral prospecting rights over land of up to 1000 km2 in size for an initial period of three years, renewable twice for a maximum of two years at a time.

The MPMRC considers the application, which usually includes a feasibility study, financial statements and other safeguards, and makes its recommendation to the Minister of MME, who either grants or refuses the application.

In accordance with the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act, 1992 renewals require a reduction in size of the original EPL on each renewal.

Overview of the EPL License in Namibia

An EPL is meant for detailed investigations such as geological mapping, ground geophysics, geochemical sampling, trenching, drilling, bulk sampling, trial mining, etc. It is the most common type of mineral license issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

In fact, more than 70% of the workload which the Mining Commissioner’s office undertakes due to licensing related activities emanate from EPLs and EPL applications. 

This 3-year licence allows systematic prospecting in areas of up to 1,000 km. It gives exclusive exploration rights to the land and may be extended twice for two-year periods if demonstrable progress is shown. Renewals beyond seven years require special approval from the Minister.

Exclusive Prospecting Licence (EPL)

Background Information

Granting of EPL(s) will be permitted in all protected areas except in ‘no go areas’, including protected
areas excluded from prospecting and mining as per Annex 2. EPL applications must be submitted to the
Mining Commissioner who refers such applications to the MPMRAC. The the MME registers the application
and provides the company with an environmental screening questionnaire.

In considering the applications, the MPMRAC assesses the applicant’s financial resources, technical expertise and proven track record of mineral exploration and development. The proposed prospecting programme, schedule and budget and its suitability to the geology, geomorphology and ecology of the area under application are critically reviewed. Documented proof of this must be furnished with the screening questionnaire for consideration by the MPMRAC.

The Mining Commissioner notifies the applicant on whether he/she has been successful and if so the MET sets environmental conditions (Annex 3) and helps compile Terms of Reference (ToR) for the EIA and/or EMP. The MET reviews the ToR for the EIA prior to commencement of the EIA.

Strategic approach

In terms of the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act, 1992, an EPL may be renewed. Such renewals are subject to a reduction in size of the EPL. When a company applies for renewal of an EPL, this application
must be lodged 90 days prior to the expiry date of the EPL or, with good reason, no later than the expiry

The MET must review the renewal application and make any comments and/or recommendations for
consideration by the MPMRC. Amendments and revisions may be required for the EIA and EMP. A summary
of the renewal procedure is presented in Annex 5.

Due Consideration must be given when renewing the licence to ascertain whether there is justification to renew the licence. Once an EPL expires and a new EPL is issued, even if it is to the previous holder, the full screening process must be followed with a full EIA process before operations may commence.

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