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Description of basic mining legal principles.

  • Schmidt, Reinhard1
  • 1 Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg, Institut für Bergbau und Spezialtiefbau, Freiberg, Germany, [email protected] , (Germany)
Published Article
Advances in biochemical engineering/biotechnology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
DOI: 10.1007/10_2013_197
PMID: 23851585


The Federal Mining Act manages access, via the system of mining concessions, to areas free for mining natural resources that do not belong to the surface property and deposits' owner. These cover especially important natural resources for the economy, including coal, ore, salt, crude oil and natural gas, and also terrestrial heat. For mining operations there exist, however, the same decrees for natural resources in the property of the surface owners, which are predominantly higher-value industrial minerals such as roofing slate, basalt, quartz sand, and clays for the fireproofing industry. In the case of mining laws, administrative procedures such as issuing mining concessions, approving operating plans, and issuing permits or licenses to explore according to water rights or the Federal Immission Control Act, those authorities and departments in whose remit the projects fall are dealt with by the Mining Authority. This means that the Mining Authority is the only state point of contact for the applicant, essentially an "all-in-one" service as it will itself instigate any further participation procedures required. The classic licensing procedure of mining is the operations plan procedure, whereby the operator submits an operating plan to the Mining Authority, which then examines it to ensure it fulfills mandatory legal safety objectives. If necessary these safety objectives can be met during licensing of the operating plans by stipulating additional requirements, Depending on the subject and validity period there are overall operating plans having the widest possible remit with comprehensive participation by the authorities and basic operating plans that form the basis for every mining works. There are also special operating plans, which owing to the dynamics of mining, resolve matters that suddenly become necessary or when the basic operating plans as originally conceived were not relevant. The closing-down operating plan is the designated tool for closing down works and for the rehabilitation of the land; in the case of underground mining and mine boreholes an operating history must also be submitted. For those projects that have a significant effect on the environment, an obligatory overall operations plan with mining law project approval procedure and integrated Environmental Risk Assessment (UVP) are necessary. The point at which this is required is stipulated in the UVP-mining decree, for example if the mining area of an open-cast pit is more than 25 ha. Alongside the UVP, the procedure is also equipped with public participation and through its "concentrating effect" replaces further licensing procedures according to other laws. The Mining Authority combines supervision and licensing, which are usually inseparable due to the operations plan procedure, as well as aspects of occupational safety and of the protection of the environment. In view of this administrative concentration these should not be fragmented. The "all-in-one" service meets the requirements of a modern public-oriented administration, has only a few points of contact, and can therefore work efficiently.

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