What We Do
The Mineral Sector is governed by the Mines and Minerals Act, Chapter 226, Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000-2003 and the associated Regulations: the Mines and Minerals (General) Regulations, and the Mines and Minerals (Safety, Health and Environmental) Regulations.
The Minister responsible for mines and minerals is the Honorable Gaspar Vega of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. The Act and the Regulations are administered by the Inspector of Mines; Craig-Elliott Moore. The authorized government agency is the Geology & Petroleum Department (GPD). The type of Mineral Right required is dependent on the nature of activities to be undertaken and the scale of these activities.
The most common types of Mineral Rights are:
- Quarry Permits (extraction of material below 16,000 cu. yds.); Registered or Unregistered,
- Mining Licences (extraction of materials greaterthan 16,000 cu. yds.),
- Prospecting Licences; both Exclusive and Non-Exclusive,
- Reconnaissance Licences.
Quarry Permits are issued by the Inspector of Mines and expire on December 31st of any given year.
Mining Licences are awarded by the Minister and have a duration tied to the estimated life of the deposit or a maximum of twenty (20) years. Exclusive Prospecting Licences are awarded by the Minister and have a duration of three (3) years. They allow for detailed prospecting inclusive of trenching, coring, test pitting and subsurface sampling. They have a maximum area of twenty-five square kilometers (25 km2).
Reconnaissance Licences are awarded by the Minster and have a duration of one (1) year. They allow for non-invasive exploration inclusive of surface mapping, geophysical surveys and surface sampling. They have a maximum area of fifty square kilometers (50 km2).
Before an application for a Permit or Licence is processed, the applicant must lodge with the Inspector of Mines the following:
- (a) A completed application form.
- A map (1:50,000) showing the area being applied for, inclusive of the UTM co-ordinates that delineate the region.
- A copy of proof of ownership of or interest in the surface rights (Land Tenure documents, Survey Plan, Letter of authorization, where applicable).
- A mining or quarry plan of the intended operation; inclusive of the type of equipment to be used, method
of extraction, method of processing, estimate of volumes
to be obtained, etc.
- A survey plan of the area to be mined or dredged.
Where applicable, the following must be submitted:
- In relation to dredging, Permit for Land Reclamation and/or Land Creation, Mangrove Alteration Permit,
Seawall and/or Pier Permit, Environmental Clearance
and any other applicable permit, be obtained from the
respective Government Agencies.
- If the area being applied for is on private land or access to the area will be required through private land, a copy of written consent from the private land owner or leaseholder. The applicant shall then be solely responsible for any such agreement that may be necessary to gain access into the area.
Also prior to the commencement of and during extraction, personnel from the relevant Government Agencies shall visit the quarry site to carry out mandatory inspections of the operations. For Licences as per Section 10(3) of the Mines & Minerals Act, a notice of the application must be published in three (3) consecutive issues of; the Government Gazette and one (1) major local newspaper of choice. For Prospecting or Reconnaissance Licences the following must also be submitted:
- A work programme of the intended operations including an expenditure estimate for year one .
- Provisions for the protection of the environment