Mining License Application In Namibia

Mining License Application In Namibia



This article is an initiative of the Ministry of Mines and Energy aimed at explaining the types of licenses and permits administered and issued by the Ministry and the application and evaluation processes followed by the Ministry in granting licenses.

The expected outcome of this document is to give possible investors, project proponent and interested parties a quick overview and understanding of how licensing of mining and energy permit activities are undertaken by the Ministry in the context of the relevant legislative framework.


In Namibia, any right in relation to the reconnaissance, prospecting, mining
sale/disposal and exercise of control over, any mineral or group of minerals are vested in the state and are a provided for by the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act, 1992 and administered by the Mining Commissioner. Any person interested in undertaking mining activities should apply to the Ministry of Mines and Energy in the prescribed forms.


2.1. Non-Exclusive Prospecting License (NEPL) (Section 16 – 24)

This license is a gateway to pegging mining claims. The holder of a NEPL is not entitled to exclusive rights for any specific mineral group or area. It issued for a year and the annual fee is N$50.

2.2. Mining Claims (MC)

Mining claims are granted to Namibian citizens or to companies owned by
Namibian citizens. However, a mining claim holder may choose to contract a foreigner or a company owned by foreigners to prospect and mine. An individual or a company can only be awarded a maximum of ten (10) mining claims at a time.

The registration of a mining claim is subject to an Environmental Clearance
Certificate, issued by Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The application fee is N$ 50.00.

2.3. Reconnaissance License (RL) (Section 58 – 66)

A reconnaissance license is used to conduct regional investigations such as airborne geophysical surveys and analysis of satellite images. Usually it covers a large area e.g. 1 million Ha. A RL issued for six (6) months after which, the holder of a RL should ideally be in a position to apply for an Exclusive Prospecting Licence within the area previously covered by the RL. The application fee for a RL depends on the size of the area (N$500/quarter of a degree square).

2.4. Exclusive Prospecting License (EPL) (Section 67 – 76)

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. The application and License fees are paid as per the following table:

AREA (Ha) FEE (N$)
< – 20 000 2 000
20 001 – 30 000 3 000
30 001 – 40 000 4 000
40 001 – 50 000 5 000
50 001 – 60 000 6 000
60 001 – 70 000 7 000
70 001 – 80 000 8 000
80 001 – 90 000 9 000
90 001 – 100 000 10 000

2.5. Mineral Deposit Retention License (MDRL) (Section 77 -89)

After conducting exploration under an EPL, the EPL holder may find a deposit but there could be certain circumstances that prevent such EPL holder from taking the project to mining. These circumstances include: the commodity price, lack of infrastructure or poor extraction technologies at the time.

If the EPL holder has a reason to believe that these negative circumstances would improve, they may choose to preserve their rights over the deposit by applying for an MDRL. An MDRL is issued for five (5) years and is renewable; however the holder is not obliged to carry out any do work. The annual fee is N$5000.

2.6. Mining License (ML) (Section 90-101)

After a successful exploration program, an EPL holder may want to start mining activities. In this case, an EPL Holder may to apply for a mining license. Depending on the deposit size and the scale of production, a mining license may be issued for a period not longer than twenty five (25) years. The annual fee depends on the projected annual turnover.

Where the turnover is projected to be below N$10 000 000, the fee is N$1000. Where the turnover is projected to be above N$10 000 000, the fee is N$5000. Mining licenses are renewable for periods not exceeding 15 years at a time.

3. How to apply for Mineral Rights

3.1. Application and Registration of a Mining Claim

An application for the registration of a mining claim is made to the Mining
Commissioner in the prescribed form. A mining claim must be made within 21 days from the date on which such claim is pegged as provided in section 28 and shall be accompanied by the application fee.

3.2. Application for a Mineral Licence

A mineral licence under the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act, 1992 includes a reconnaissance licence, and exclusive prospecting licence, a mining licence or a mineral deposit retention licence.
An application for:

a. a mineral licence or a renewal thereof;

b. the amendment of a mineral licence;


c. the approval of the Minister for the transfer of a mineral licence, or the grant session or assignment of any interest in any mineral licence, or to be a joint holder of a mineral licence or such interest, shall be made to the Minister in the prescribed forms and shall be accompanied by the application fees, as the case may be of such licence.

4. What happens to the application once it is lodged?

4.1. Mining Claims

a. Is registered and managed using the Flexi Cadastre Namibia – a software solution that the Ministry uses to facilitate all aspects of the application,
evaluation, granting and compliance monitoring of mineral rights and related permits.

b. The completed “environmental questionnaire for mining claims” and the proforma environmental contract” forms must be handed to the competent authority (MME official) on the day of application.

c. The mining claim can only be registered upon receipt of an environmental clearance certificate from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

d. An application for the renewal of registration of a mining claim must be made not later than ninety (90) days before the expiry date of such mining claim.

e. Once in possession of the certificate of registration of the mining claim, the mining claim holder shall carry on mining operations

4.2. Mineral Rights and License Applications

a. The Mining Commissioner receives all applications.

b. Technical staff members of the Department of Mines conduct preliminary
evaluation on each application and forward their recommendations to the
Mineral Prospecting and Mining Rights Advisory Committee (MPMRAC), an interMinisterial Committee.

c. MPMRAC meets about once every two months to look at applications. The
assessment follows the order in which the applications were received – section 125 of the Minerals (Act. After assessing each application, the MPMRAC forwards their recommendations to the Minister.

d. The Minister makes the final decision on each application.

Composition of the MPMRAC

  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Energy (Chairperson)
  • Mining Commissioner
  • A staff member of the Department of Mines responsible for Mineral Rights and Resources Development
  • The Head of the Geological Survey of Namibia
  • A staff member of the Geological Survey responsible for Economic Geology
  • A staff member of the Geological Survey responsible for Geophysics
  • Diamond Commissioner
  • Chief Mines Surveyor
  • A staff member of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism responsible for Parks
  • Environmental Commissioner
  • A staff member of the Ministry of Finance responsible for tax
  • A staff member of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources responsible for Resource management
  • A staff member of the Ministry of Land Reform responsible for farms

5. Evaluation Criteria

5.1. Mining Claims

a. Only the holder of a valid NEPL is allowed to peg a mining claim

b. In case of a person, such holder shall be a Namibian citizen older than 18
years or in case of a company, only Namibian citizens may own shares in such company.

c. The application must be lodged within 21 days as from the date on which such claim has been pegged.

d. The area applied for should not overlap with the existing valid mineral rights.

e. The applicant should have a valid environmental clearance certificate from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.