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Loi No. 2006-17 Portant Code Minier et Fiscalitiês

Legal Risk Rating
Score: 54
Substantial Risk
Benin is very close to a model mining code; it provides great security of tenure and exclusivity through the mine development process and is let down, in particular, by two key weaknesses, namely, the requirement to negotiate a mining contract with the state and the wide power of the state to revoke a mining licence. Nevertheless, there is nothing more fundamental to a miner than ensuring certainty of commercial terms upon discovery and the right to merely negotiate a contract upon discovery is not the kind of certainty upon which a miner will rest comfortably.

Regulatory Corruption Risk

Low Corruption Potential

Corruption Exposure Risk

Moderate Corruption Risk

Legal Risk Rating

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Mining Overview Commentary plus sign



The mineral industry of Benin does not play a significant role in the country’s economy and at present is limited to the production of cement, clay, gold, limestone, marble, iron ore, sand and gravel. Gold was typically produced by artisanal miners from gold veins in the Atakora Mountains in north-western Benin and from alluvial sediments along the Perma River and its tributaries.


The primary minerals legislation in Benin is the Mining Code 2006 (Loi no. 2006-17 portant code minier et fiscalités minières en République du Bénin), which replaced the earlier 1983 Mining Code. Under Article 12 of the Mining Code, surface ownership rights are separate from mining and quarrying rights, with mines and quarries belonging to the State. The industry is further regulated by various ordinances and decrees, including Décret no. 2008-804 (31 décembre 2008) portant règlement d’application du code minier et fiscalités minières en République du Bénin (Decree 804). Physical persons, who are not Beninese nationals, must be domiciled in Benin in order to acquire mining rights; companies must be registered on the commercial register and constituted in accordance with Benin’s laws governing business associations, in order to acquire mining rights.

Mining rights are contingent on receipt of an environmental compliance certificate, which is acquired through submission of an environmental impact assessment (EIA), in conformity with the relevant environmental protection regulations. The Mining Code also provides extensive tax and customs information. A Mining Agreement (Convention minière) is valid for the duration of the validity of the research (or exploration) permit, including renewals, and the duration of an exploitation permit, including renewals. The Convention Minière specifies the rights and obligations of the parties regarding legal, financial, tax, and social conditions, including management of funds for site restoration, and the document cannot be altered except by mutual agreement. The tax and customs exemptions provided in the Mining Code can only be accorded through a Mining Agreement between the State and the beneficiary. The government has a right to 10% of the shares of a mining company for the duration of the mine.


Several types of permits may be granted under the Mining Code, namely:

  • Prospecting authorization: Allows for non-exclusive prospecting on all territory in Benin that is not already subject to a research or exploitation permit. This authorization is personal, and cannot be transferred or divided. This authorization is granted for a period of three years and can be renewed three times, for a period of two years each. Holders of a prospecting authorization are required to submit annual reports to the Mining Administration regarding the results of their research and studies.


  • Research (or Exploration) permit: This permit, issued by the Minister responsible for mines, on recommendation of the Director of Mines, confers exclusive prospecting and exploration rights for the specified mineral substances. The permit is valid for three years and renewable twice for additional three-year periods. During its validity, only the permit holder may apply for an exploitation permit for areas within the relevant perimeter (after creating an exploitation company). The research permit holder must commence work within six months and submit annual reports regarding the results obtained and money invested. If the permit holder fails to invest for a full year it must pay an indemnity, equal to the deficiency, in order to maintain the validity of the permit. A research permit does not exclude the issuance of a research permit for liquid or gas hydrocarbons in the same perimeter, provided these activities do not impede the mining activities. The research permit is accompanied by a Mining Agreement, signed by the Minister responsible for mines and the mining rights holder.


  • Exploitation permit: Confers the exclusive right to conduct prospecting, exploration and exploitation within the perimeter. The permit is issued by the Conseil des Ministres at the recommendation of the Minister responsible for mines, is valid for 20 years and can be renewed twice for additional ten-year periods. The perimeter is defined depending on the size of the deposit and a feasibility study in support of the application, and the permit confers the same rights and obligations for all mineral substances found by the permit holder. To apply, a research permit holder must provide a feasibility study, a plan for development and exploitation of the deposit, an environmental protection plan, and a scheme for site rehabilitation based on an environmental impact study. If the exploitation is expected to have particularly grave consequences for the environment or local populations it will only be granted after a public hearing, to evaluate and determine the measures needed to eliminate or minimize these effects, has been held. These recommendations must be taken into account in the development and exploitation plan, the environmental protection plan and the site rehabilitation plan. The permit holder must begin work within 18 months and any major deviations from the plans require advance justification, submitted to the Direction chargé des Mines at least one month prior. Further, the permit holder must provide tri-annual (or at the request of the Director of Mines) statements, accompanied with supporting documents, indicating the number of buyers, the volume, the terms and conditions of sales, the production, and any other relevant information. Any transactions, transfers or unusual arrangements with an affiliated or non-affiliated enterprise must be specifically reported, and all elements, including contracts, commissions and conditions must be revealed.


  • Artisanal or semi-industrial mining authorization: Grants the right to exploit the substances for which the authorization is issued, within a specified perimeter. This right is indivisible, non-pledgeable, non-transferable, and inalienable, and can only be granted where it is proven that industrial mining is not economically viable.


Mining permits can be revoked by the authorizing body for the following: delay of activities; suspension of exploitation for more than one year (research permit) or more than 18 months (exploitation permit) without a legitimate reason; serious restriction of exploration or exploitation activities, without a legitimate motive, that is prejudicial to national interests; violations of certain articles (4, 5, 22, 102) of the Mining Code; non-payment of taxes; causes listed in the Mining Agreement; illicit exploitation; and any other activity prejudicial to national interests. The permit holder must be given 90 days written notice to remedy the situation prior to proceeding with permit revocation. The decision is subject to review by an administrative tribunal or arbitration tribunal if the Mining Agreement so authorizes. An appeal against the decision to withdraw the permit, prior to the expiration of 60 days after its notification, suspends execution.


Article 98 of the Mining Code requires that mining activities be conducted in a manner that assures the rational exploitation of mineral resources and minimizes any negative impact on the environment, and on local populations and their usage and customs. Mining activities must be conducted using techniques to prevent pollution and to ensure the preservation of biodiversity, and mining rights are contingent on an EIA conforming to the relevant environmental protection regulations (Decree 2001-235 on the EIA), as required by Articles 88-89 of the Environment Law, 1999. Chapter 10 of the Mining Regulations (Decree 2008-804) sets requirements for health and safety.

Under Articles 102-103 of the Mining Code, employment of qualified Beninese nationals for operations in Benin is prioritized and companies should accord preference to Beninese enterprises for construction, supply or services contracts. Companies are required to establish training and promotion programs for Beninese nationals, and to conduct their activities in a way that promotes the transfer of technology for the benefit of Beninese personnel and corporations. The Mining Code also promotes health and safety and mining rights holders must provide a health and safety plan, for the approval of the Director of Mines, within three months, or the Direction chargé des mines can prescribe measures necessary to assure the hygiene and security of employees and third parties, and in doing so, must consult with the collective community or public institution for communal land. If no accord is reached within three months, the issue passes to the Minister responsible for mines so as provisions related to expropriation of customary land rights or expropriation for public utility or temporary occupation can be applied. In the event that no accord is reached, authorization to occupy is only accorded by paying an indemnity.

Mining installations and the extracted minerals cannot be requisitioned or expropriated by the State, except in the public interest, and fair and prior compensation must be paid. Mining rights holders must indemnify the State, and any other person duly recognized by the Department of Mines or other competent service, for any damage or prejudice, and a research or exploitation licence cannot impede the execution of public utility works within the perimeter; however, titleholders are entitled to compensation in the event that the title is rendered useless. Mining titleholders can occupy the surface terrain necessary to conduct their activities with the permission of the Minister responsible for mines, which will be granted after the surface rights holders receive compensation or, if no agreement can be reached, the titleholder deposits funds in a public account to cover compensation. Civil courts have jurisdiction over disputes regarding compensation.


See Benin Environmental Regulation.

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Environmental Overview Commentary plus sign



Benin is located in western Africa between Nigeria and Togo, bordering the Bight of Benin. The terrain is primarily flat or undulating plains, with some hills and low mountains. Sandbanks impede access to the coast and there are no natural harbours, river mouths, or islands. The climate is hot and humid in the south, and semi-arid in the north. The country’s natural resources include small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble and timber. Benin’s key environmental issues include inadequate supplies of potable water, poaching, deforestation and desertification.


Environmental protection is provided for in the Constitution, with Article 27 stating that everyone “has a right to a healthy, pleasing and sustainable environment and the duty to protect it. The State is responsible for the protection of the environment.” The main environmental legislation is the framework Environment Law (Loi no. 98 du 12 Février 1999 portant loi cadre sur l’environnement en République du Bénin), which was promulgated in 1999. Article 98 of the Mining Code 2006, requires that mining activities be conducted in a manner that assures the rational exploitation of mineral resources and minimizes the negative impact on the environment, and on the local populations and their usage and customs. Mining activities must be conducted using techniques to prevent pollution and to ensure the preservation of biodiversity. Mining rights are contingent upon an EIA.

The Benin Environmental Agency (Agence Béninoise pour l’Environnement (ABE)) was established in 1995 to implement the 1993 environmental action plan. The ABE oversees the EIA procedures, which were introduced by Décret no. 2001-235 du 12 juillet 2001, portant organisation de la procédure d’étude d’impact sur l’environnement (Decree 235). Article 15 of Decree 235 indicates the fees for an environmental compliance certificate (Certificat de conformité environnementale).


The legal basis for the EIS process is provided for by Articles 88 and 89 of the Environmental Law 1999. The environmental compliance certificate is issued by the Minister of the Environment, upon the technical advice of the ABE. To obtain the environmental compliance certificate, the applicant must submit a request, an EIS, the opinion of the ABE and the receipt for the payment of fees. The authorisation can be withdrawn in the event that the conditions imposed by the certificate are not respected.

Decree 235 governs the procedure for EISs and two types of studies are possible: simplified or comprehensive. Projects subject to the simplified EIS requirement are projects (listed in Annex 1 of Decree 235) where the environmental effects are limited, or can easily be limited or avoided, through the application of a mitigation plan, and projects that do not take place in at-risk or ecologically sensitive zones. The comprehensive EIS is necessary for major projects (in terms of environmental effects) and projects undertaken in an at-risk or environmentally sensitive area (specified in Annex 2 of Decree 235).

Applicants are responsible for the EIS and may select an organisation or consultant to complete the report, though the use of national expertise is recommended. The applicant submits a request for examination of the report of the EIS to the Minister of Environment and 15 copies for the offices of the ABE. The ABE has three months from the date upon which it determined that the dossiers are complete to examine the report. The ABE submits its technical opinion to the Minister of Environment, who issues a decision within seven days.

The contents of the EIS report should reflect the project’s expected environmental impact and should include the following elements: (a) a detailed description of the project, including plans, maps and figures; (b) a precise and detailed inventory of the initial environmental, socio-economic and human development status of the site, including the elements and natural resources likely to be affected by the project and the use that is made of these resources; (c) analysis of the expected direct, indirect and cumulative environmental consequences of the project; (d) a comparative analysis of implementation options and technical justification for the choice of project and the methods selected, taking into account environmental protection concerns; (e) the measures proposed for the compensation, reduction and elimination of the project’s damaging environmental effects; (f) an environmental management plan for both during and after the project. This report must be accompanied by a summary.

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