An affordable exploration and mining licence administration system for developing countries: summary report. (WC/98/061).


The purpose of the project was to develop a simple, adaptable PC-based mineral exploration and mining licence management system, which can generate up-to-date hard copy maps and data, supporting effective mineral sector management and development. Developing countries need to promote and utilise their natural resources for the benefit of their population and efficient and beneficial exploitation of natural mineral resources provides an important part of the economies of many countries, both in the developing and in the developed world. The ability to exploit mineral resources can be an important factor in the growth and a driving force for the national economy, increasing wealth and general infrastructure.

The results of the project are reported in two volumes, a Summary Report and a more detailed Technical Report. This summary report contains an overview of the administration of mining rights, a review of the available software, the design of a generalised database and GIS after study of the systems installed in Malaysia, Botswana and Guyana, and details of the system implemented in Guyana. A summary of feedback and future prospects for implementation of the administration system in other developing countries is included.

The Technical Report covers similar areas but in more detail and includes a technical description of the database and GIS. It is intended for a more specialised readership with detailed technical knowledge of database and GIS design.

Project Requirement

The major project requirement and purpose are highlighted by the following statements:

Goal statement: To develop methods and systems for defining and maintaining geosciences information infrastructure.

Purpose statement: To promote efficient mineral exploration and mining licensing management procedures, thereby encouraging investment in the mining sector.

Overview of the nature and administration of mining law

A manual system for recording the areas of mining rights is normally carried out by drawing the outlines of the assigned area on a suitable scaled, topographic map. The availability of maps limits the choice of scales with many countries plotting on a 1:250 000 or 1:100 000 base map. The areas are plotted by hand, usually coloured by pencil, on a standard set of base maps using information received from the applicant. The areas are then checked for overlap with adjacent licences and the application may be refused if such overlap exists. This system works when the licences are all current and they are widely spaced. Angola is an example where such a manual system is possible, because of the lack of exploration during the civil war and the subsequent licences are nearly all active. However, in countries with a lot of exploration interest over a long period of time, this system breaks down. Surrendered or lapsed areas are still marked on the base map and it is unclear which are active and which have lapsed. The situation in Northern Ireland is an example of the latter case and in the most gold-prospective area up to 10 licences may be overplotted on the base map. One solution to this problem is to use multiple copies of the base map which separates the licence areas but the problem of showing only active licences remains.

This report is available to download in full colour (3088 kb) and black and white (1416 kb).


Coats, J.S.; Jones, R.C.; Davies, B.J. An affordable exploration and mining licence administration system for developing countries: summary report. (WC/98/061). (1998)

An affordable exploration and mining licence administration system for developing countries: summary report. (WC/98/061).

Published 1 January 1998