Newsletter 34

Mali's new Mining Code: WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IT...

Mali is Africa's third-largest gold producer and has many other mineral resources. Despite this proven potential, the country still ranks among those with the lowest per capita income in the world.

Several mining codes later, the question arises: what went wrong? The latest Code, adopted on August 29, 2023 by Law no. 2023-040, comes in a particular socio-political context, with a stated desire to increase the mining sector's contribution to inclusive progress. In addition to this new Code, whose implementing decree has yet to be adopted, there is also Law no. 2023-041 on local content in the mining sector, adopted on August 29, 2023.
The new Mining Code stands out in particular for:
- the reconsideration of the stability regime with regard to tax and customs issues;
- the strengthening of the role of the State and Malian nationals;
- the obligation to refine and process mining products locally.

End of the stability regime?
Until now, the "life" of the permit was governed by a single establishment agreement, which governed relations between the permit holder and the State of Mali during the exploration and exploitation phases. From now on, two Conventions will apply: one for the exploration phase (9 years) and the other for the exploitation phase (12 years). This de facto reduces the duration of the tax and customs stability regime. It should be noted that the new Code will apply to currently valid exploration and production licenses (now both granted by decree issued by the Council of Ministers) when they are next renewed, and specifically to production licenses within 6 months of its publication, as far as local development support contracts are concerned.

Strengthening the role of the State
As a reminder, a national company, Société de recherche et d'exploitation minière du Mali (SREM), has been set up, with priority rights for the issuance of exploration permits. In addition, the State now grants itself:
- a right of pre-emption over mining titles;
- a right of first refusal;
- free ownership of perimeter zones already granted, subject to certain conditions;
- the creation of zones of strategic interest, in addition to those whose granting was subject to a competitive bidding procedure. The State is increasing its stake in the capital of mining companies: in addition to the 10% free stake, the additional stake has been raised to 20%, and the calculation of its value has been modified. Mining companies will have to sell 5% of their shares to Malian investors through the state-owned company. In addition, the organization chart for the sector's management structures has been modified, introducing new entities such as the Fonds de réalisation des infrastructures énergétiques, hydrauliques et de transport, the Fonds minier de développement local, the Secrétariat permanent du Contenu local, the Cadre de concertation sur le Contenu local, the Commissariat chargé des activités minières, and the Comité technique de suivi du plan de développement communautaire.

Strengthening the role of nationals
The Local Content Act and the new Mining Code emphasize the principle that mining companies should give priority to nationals, local communities, national companies and local materials in their operations. From now on, mining operators must present a procurement plan for goods and services that includes a local dimension. Emphasis is also placed on the recruitment of national workers, with a simplified recruitment and training process for all positions. Finally, the new Code requires refining and processing of mining products on national territory, either by state-owned units or by private units authorized by the Ministers of Mines and Finance.

The desire to make the mining sector a genuine lever for inclusive progress will need to be accompanied by the following complementary conditions:
- move beyond the debate on tax burdens and consider the sector in a more sustainable way beyond tax revenues;
- support the strengthening of local skills with training adapted to international standards, targeting mining sector employees and state administrators involved in mining companies. To achieve a genuine ecosystem of skills capable of grasping the issues at stake (national champions, specialized technicians, financiers, lawyers);
- overhaul the architecture of mining sector administrative bodies for greater efficiency,
- reconsider the current paternalistic approach to community development plans by moving towards a more proactive and inclusive policy;
- consider the relationship between the State and private mining companies as a partnership in the transition from mining to a genuine industry;
- manage State holdings effectively via a Holdings Management Agency operating under appropriate private management rules, with the eventual creation of a Development Fund for Future Generations investing part of the revenues in the health and education sectors.
Beyond the texts, which are merely the instruments of application, the crucial element remains the Vision. A shared vision, with both ambitious and pragmatic objectives, for a different trajectory towards inclusive progress.

Our firm remains at your disposal to provide you with all the legal assistance you need.


ACI 2000 - Immeuble Conseil Malien des Chargeurs 3rd floor / BP E 2912 - France
(223) 20 29 41 04 /
Bamako Mali

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