Table of Contents

  • The legislation relating to minerals covered by this Survey in most cases has its origin in a period when the countries in question were still under colonial administration. Amendments have of course been made from time to time both before and since the coming of independence, but generally speaking the basic framework of the principal act has remained unchanged. The colonial governments plainly treated prospecting for, and mining of, minerals as a subject of considerable importance which required careful, and in some respects meticulous, regulation by statute.

  • The problem confronting developing country governments in the now normal situation where all mineral rights are vested in the State can be posed.

  • A Mining company contemplating a major investment in a developing country will always make a careful assessment of the non-commercial risks. The possibility that the government might, at some time in the future, expropriate the investment, and the uncertainty surrounding the whole topic of compensation for expropriated assets, are matters which would normally have to be taken into account. However, no less important in practice, particularly where there are detailed stipulations relating to the fiscal regime, is the risk that the government might in the future seek to extinguish or modify its contractual obligations by an exercise of legislative competence.