Mining Legislation and Regulations

5. Enforcement

An array of enforcement responsibilities fall upon different levels of government to ensure the consistent and transparent development of minerals. Developed mining jurisdictions will have institutions and processes in place to conduct various phases of investment and operational enforcement, whereas new and emerging minerals markets will need to establish them.

Legislative definition of violations and penalties. For government to identify and then enforce infringements of legislation, each piece of legislation should not only provide guidance for the required actions, but should also define what constitutes a violation of that guidance. In this way, government will provide clarity that certain penalties for violations may result. The codification of penalties may be included in specific legislation or in a collective piece of legislation, e.g. the civil or criminal code.

Dispute/grievance resolution. With respect to some matters, the opportunity to resolve disputes prior to enforcing legislation should be encouraged. In the absence of clear legislative provisions, government agencies, specifically those responsible for the minerals sector, are typically challenged to address an array of mine-related disputes or grievances. Legislative guidance on what grievance mechanisms shall apply to specific sector disputes will relieve governments of a constant and unpredictable influx of resolution requests. Such guidance also facilitates improved transparency and consistency in how disputes are handled.

Enforcement agencies/actors. Particularly with respect to minerals development, enforcement presents a great challenge to government. Often mining operations are conducted far from government headquarters, borders are porous, and mine operators can be more commercially astute than government.

This table shows illustrative examples of the agencies that can be involved in enforcing legislation and the issues that they will cover.