By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
As part of its reforms and measures to enhance the performance of the mining sector and enhance the attractiveness of domestic and foreign investment, Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment said it has introduced new mining laws.
The new mining laws, introduced by Dr. Abdelkader Amara, the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, to the Mining Code Council Government incorporate some of the principles contained in current legislation and introduce new provisions including some relating to the study of environmental impact and abandonment plans to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development.
Under the new regulation, the environment will be protected against any kind of pollution and degradation. A legal liability framework guaranteeing compensation for any damages caused to the environment will be implemented.
If the land tenancy lasts for more than three years or the land is after the works no longer fit for its former use, the land owner may force the permit owner/concessionaire to purchase the land at a price which shall be fixed by courts and may not be less than twice the value of the land before the occupation.
Bill No. 33-13 also:
Introduced new licenses for the exploitation of underground caverns for the storage of natural gas and the operation of dumps and heaps.
Introduced the prospecting license to mining companies with the ability to operate in areas of large areas ranging from 100 to 600 km2. Prospecting area can reach 2,400 km2 maximum.
Extended the scope of the mining legislation in other minerals for industrial use such as calcite, feldspar, magnesite, perlite except building materials and engineering.
Expanded the mining title to all products of mines instead of a specific as it is currently practiced category.
Extended the duration of the approved mining license and its renewal until depletion.
To these are added other measures contained in the new mining code for the clarification and simplification of the procedure for granting the mining title.
The minister stressed the importance of the bill to enable the sector to fully play its role in the national economy through the development of exploration and mining research to promote new discoveries and sustainable development of regional and national mining industry.
The mining sector in Morocco is currently regulated by the mining regulations dating back to the 1950s (Dahir of April 16, 1951).
Morocco is party to bilateral investment treaties with a number of countries, including free trade agreements with U.S., European Union and major Arab, African and South Eastern Asian countries, but not Australia.
The newly adopted mining regulation aims to upgrade the current legislation and adapt it to developments in the mining sector globally.