Mining Law in Asia - China

By Pascal Jiang and Joyce Jia

In China, mining activities are regulated under the Mineral Resources Law and various Administrative Measures. These laws are administered by the Ministry of Land and Resources (MOLAR) and the various provincial, regional and municipal geology and mineral resources departments. The two types of mining licences available in China are:

  • an exploration licence; and
  • a mining licence.

The usual timeframe for deciding on an application for an exploration licence is 40 days and for a mining licence is also 40 days.

For foreign investment in mining activities in China, approval from the Ministry of Commerce is required under the Administrative Measures for the Administration of Foreign-invested Mineral Exploration Enterprises.

Mining companies should also be aware of the following environmental requirements:

  • an approval from the relevant environment authority is required under the Law of Appraising of Environmental Impacts before either an exploration or a mining licence will be issued. An environmental impact assessment report must be submitted to the relevant environmental authority, whose decision on the report must be made within 60 days, and
  • the use of forest land in China for mining projects is subject to approval by the relevant forestry authority under the Forestry Law and the Regulation on the Implementation of the Forestry Law. The approval process generally takes 20 days.

In addition, there are various requirements for the compensation of affected land owners and occupiers depending on whether the land will need to be requisitioned and whether the site is in a rural or urban area. In each case, a mining company will need to negotiate with the landholders regarding compensation for the destruction of property (such as houses or crops) and relocation of the occupants. In rural areas, the MOLAR has issued guidelines for land requisition, which include guidance on appropriate compensation and resettlement of farmers.

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