An overhead view of an open pit mine. The ground is brown and rusty-looking, and there are dirt roads leading into and out of the mining area.
Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

Feb. 18, 2021

Book fills 'surprising' void in African mining law

UCalgary law prof Evaristus Oshionebo’s new book will be a valuable tool for lawyers in that continent's mining industry

Africa is known for being rich with mining and mineral resources, but there is a surprising lack of materials available on mining law on that continent. For Faculty of Law professor Dr. Evaristus Oshionebo, PhD, who originally hails from Nigeria, attempting to fill that void was one of the motivations for writing his book, Mineral Mining in Africa: Legal and Fiscal Regimes

“To the best of my knowledge, this book is the first to undertake a comparative assessment of mining regimes in Africa,” explains Oshionebo. “To that extent, the book is an invaluable tool for lawyers involved in the African mining industry, and explores all aspects including prospecting, exploration, production of minerals, and decommissioning of mines.” 

Book covers variety of areas in mining law 

His research focuses primarily on the law and policy governing the extraction of natural resources, particularly hard-rock minerals (such as gold, diamonds, nickel, copper and silver) and oil and gas, and the book builds on his previous research by taking a continent-wide analysis of the legal and financial frameworks for mining in Africa. Mineral Mining in Africa covers a variety of topics including the acquisition of mineral rights and the nature of those rights, the security of mineral holdings, fiscal regimes including royalty and taxes, and the management and use of mining revenues including benefit-sharing arrangements between mining companies and communities.

Professor Evaristus Oshionebo

Evaristus Oshionebo.

Goal to encourage creating of courses in Africa 

It is Oshionebo’s hope that his research will serve two primary purposes. 

“While I was conducting my research, I discovered, much to my astonishment, that very few universities in Africa teach mining law as a distinct course. This book not only fills the gap in mining law jurisprudence in Africa, but could encourage the teaching of mining law in African universities. Also, I think this book will be a good resource for practising lawyers in Africa to provide the best legal advice to their clients.” 

Most important, Oshionebo hopes the book can be used as a guide for African countries to design more realistic mining regimes that cater to the interests of both the host countries and the mining companies. 

“The ultimate goal is that the mining companies and African countries will adopt the mechanisms I propose to ensure that the benefits of mining are shared with local host communities that bear the brunt of the negative externalities associated with mining operations.”