• Mining Unit


    To realize the mineral wealth of Belize


    To develop the mineral industry of Belize in accordance with the mining legislation, acceptable international standards, and sound environmental practices for the benefit of all Belizeans

    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 Act and the Regulations are administered by the Inspector of Mines. The authorized government agency is The Mining Unit. The type of Mineral Right required is dependent on the nature of activities to be undertaken and the scale of these activities.

    The Mining Unit’s Strategic Objectives
    The Mining Unit aims to:

    • Facilitate the exploration of minerals
    • Promote the development of mineral resources
    • Administrate the processing and issuance of Mineral Rights: Prospecting Licenses, Exploration Licenses, Mining Licenses and Quarry Permits
    • Enforce compliance with the conditions of Mineral Rights
    • Collect and assess revenues payable under the Mines and Minerals Act: royalties, fees, rentals, charges, etc.
    • Prepare and disseminate reports, maps and other mineral related data to the public

    Mineral Rights available for application:


    • Quarry Permits are issued by the Inspector of Mines and expire on 31st December of any given year for the extraction of material below 16,000 cu. yards. There are Quarry Permits (QP), Registered Quarry Permits (RQP), Registered Artisanal Quarry Permits (RAQP), and Non-Commercial Quarry Permits (NCQP).
    • Mining Licenses (ML) are awarded by the Minister of Natural Resources & Agriculture and have a duration tied to the estimated life of the deposit or a maximum of twenty (20) years. Mining Licenses are for the extraction of materials greater than 16,000 cubic yards.

      For information on the kind of activities that might be done in mining and the corresponding application process, see Fact Sheet: MINING

    • Prospecting Licenses – There are Non-Exclusive Licenses (NEPL) and Reconnaissance Licenses (RL)
      • Non-Exclusive Licenses are awarded by the Inspector of Mines, have duration of one (1) year and allow for the non-invasive prospecting in all districts identified in the license. Proper resource consents must be obtained prior to each prospecting mission.
      • Reconnaissance Licenses are awarded by the Minster and have 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 kilometres (50 km2).
    • Exploration Licenses – Exclusive Prospecting Licenses (EPL), are awarded by the Minister and have duration of three (3) years. They allow for detailed exploration inclusive of trenching, coring, test pitting and subsurface sampling. They have a maximum area of twenty-five square kilometres (25 km2).

    For information on the kind of activities that might be done BEFORE mining and the corresponding application process, see Fact Sheet: PROSPECTING AND EXPLORATION

    Mineral Right Application Process
    Before an application for a Permit or License is processed, the applicant must lodge with the Inspector of Mines the following:

    1. A completed application form.
    2. A map (1:50,000) showing the area being applied for, inclusive of the UTM co-ordinates that delineate the region.
    3. A copy of proof of ownership of or interest in the surface rights (Land Tenure documents, Survey Plan, Letter of authorization where applicable).
    4. 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.
    5. A survey plan of the area to be mined or dredged.

    Please note the following when preparing the application for submission:

    • Prior to the commencement of and during time of extraction, personnel from relevant Government Agencies shall visit the site to carry out mandatory inspections of the operations.
    • 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.
    • In relation to dredging, Permit for Land Reclamation and/or Land Creation from the Lands and Surveys Department; Mangrove Alteration Permit from the Forest Department; Seawall and/or Pier Permit from the Lands and Surveys Department; Environmental Clearance from the Department of the Environment; recommendations from the relevant Village, Town or City Council; and any other applicable permit or input, must be obtained from the respective Government Agencies.
    • For Licenses 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 Licenses the following must also be submitted at the time the application is submitted for review:
      • A work plan of the intended operations including a brief project overview, proposed prospecting activities, characteristics of the project area, expenditure for year one, and project area maps.
      • Technical and financial evidence.
      • NEPL holders are not allowed to conduct prospecting activities in National Parks, Nature Reserves or Wildlife Sanctuaries. Proper resource consents must be obtained prior to each prospecting mission for other Protected Areas.
    • For Exploration Licenses the following additional information must be included:
      • Environmental impacts, mitigation and control measures; rehabilitation; consultation and community engagement; environmental monitoring, auditing and reporting; occupational health and safety plans. Most of this information would have been submitted to the Department of the Environment for vetting and Environmental Clearance.

    Environmental Compliance
    All Mineral Rights require a Performance Bond. Such a bond ensures compliance with the terms and conditions of the Permit or License. Bond values are determined by the scale of operations, the work programme, and the sensitivity of the project area. Standard Bond values for Mineral Rights are:

    • Quarry Permits, BZ$ 3,000
    • Mining Licenses, BZ$ 5,000
    • Non-Exclusive Prospecting Licenses, BZ$ 5,000
    • Reconnaissance Licenses, BZ$ 5,000
    • Exclusive Prospecting Licenses, BZ$ 10,000

    For questions or concerns please give us a call at 828-5047