The Tenements Administration Branch is headed by a manager who is also the Registrar of Tenements .The Registrar’s Office administers the PNG Mining Act 1992 which is the Law that regulates mineral exploration and mining in Papua New Guinea.
Apart from administering permitting the branch also oversees the revenue from alluvial gold exports. It also maintains repository of mine production and royalty data.
In June 2013, Spatial Dimension (now Trimble) was sponsored by the World Bank to ‘Develop a Fully Integrated Mineral Tenement Management System’ (Landfolio) for the Mineral Resources Authority. This system has transformed the paper based permitting process to a more efficient paper less electronic tenement management system. The permitting process will be fully electronic soon should the revised Law is enacted.
Type of Tenements
There are various types of Mineral Tenements provided for under the Mining Act 1992 which are issued by the Mining Minister on recommendation from the Mining Advisory Council. These tenements are
Exploration Licence (EL)
EL enables the holder to conduct mineral exploration within the EL area on land and offshore within the State of Papua New Guinea. The licence term is two years subject to extension. The area size is 1 sub block or 3.41 square kilometers minimum and can go up to 750 sub blocks or 2, 557.5 square kilometers maximum. The rights to develop mineral resources within the EL rests with the EL holder
Mining Lease (ML)
A mining Lease is generally issued for small to medium scale alluvial and hard rock mining operations. The lease term is up to 20 years and can subsequently be extended for up to 10 years. The area size is up to 60 square kilometers. Mining lease for hard rock resource development can be held 100% by a foreign entity. Mining lease for alluvial purpose with foreign interests can be held in the ratio 49%:51% favoring nationals.
Special Mining Lease (SML)
Large and mega mining projects are usually undertaken under a SML. The Mining Minister in considering the size of the mineral deposit, the method of treating it, the infrastructure required for the project, economic considerations and the financing of the project may decide on the project being undertaken under a mining development contract. The mining development contract is entered into between the State and the project proponent and it captures terms not already captured in the mining law. The decision by the Minister brings about a mining development forum where the terms of the contract are negotiated.
Alluvial Mining Lease (AML)
Alluvial mining lease is held only by naturalized citizens for mining alluvial minerals. The citizen must be the owner of the land over which the lease falls. The area size can be up to five hectares maximum and the term of the lease is up to five years extendable Gold is the alluvial mineral usually mined under an AML. With no alluvial minerals definition in the mining law, it is generally perceived all other alluvial minerals are inclusive.
Lease for Mining Purpose (LMP)
LMPs are leases that hold infrastructure that support mining projects. The lease is usually issued outside but adjacent to a primary mining tenement, if the primary tenement cannot hold all the infrastructure required for the mining project. The term of the LMP is tied to the term of the primary tenement. The area size of the LMP can go up to 60 square kilometers maximum.
Mining Easement (ME)
A tenement that serves as an easement for infrastructure that supports a mining project. An easement may overlap other establishments. The intent is to excise certain land area from the establishments for the purpose of the easement. Easements usually caters for infrastructure that require narrow lateral extent but covers long distances such as roads, railway, power transmission lines, pipelines, waterways etc.