Geological services company Minrom Consulting plans to expand the capacity of its new exploration and mining licensing management software (LMS) system to become fully aligned with South African legislation, although a completion date has not yet been confirmed.
The LMS system currently complies fully with Namibian mining legislation and already caters for the basic requirements of most countries in Africa. However, while the system is aligned to fulfil and cover the basics of the South African licensing system, it is not yet compliant with all the complexities that can arise, Minrom Consulting CEO Oscar van Antwerpen explains.
The LMS system is a useful tool for mining and exploration project managers operating in Africa, as it monitors and manages licences, providing timely warnings of regulatory requirements or outstanding documents. This can be critical in ensuring that mining and exploration projects are executed without delays stemming from avoidable licensing complications.
Minrom Consulting senior geologist Graham Duncan says the system is manually updated and automatically keeps track of all dates and parameters that are entered into the system based on licence document specifications and compliance documents provided by the client.
“Therefore, a client can just dump all their data on us and, once incorporated into the system, everything is ordered and automated so it is easily accessible,” he tells Mining Weekly.
Van Antwerpen notes that Minrom Consulting would be eager to link its LMS system with South African governmental licensing database systems – either within the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy or the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. However, national legislation does not allow for open access to licence information.
Minrom Consulting is a strong advocate of opening the national licence system and cadastral systems to the public. It is well known that open licensing systems – especially with regard to ownership – stimulate investment and the development of projects.
He adds that if an open national licensing database system was implemented, Minrom Consulting would definitely expand its LMS services to include it so that it could automatically update licence details from the national cadastre.
Despite not being connected to national registries, the current LMS system is still beneficial in that it provides ample warning of licensing issues based on individual licence input data.
To ensure timeous warnings, Van Antwerpen explains that a Minrom Consulting account manager is assigned to each client. The account manager receives all the notifications after which he/she personally notifies the client. Minrom Consulting can also send the notifications automatically to the client directly.
“However, we found that clients tend to prefer a human being informing them of what is due and what needs to be done to fulfil their obligations. This is probably because none of us likes taking instructions from a computer,” he comments.
The notifications are sent at several stages. Clients are warned after a certain number of days, weeks or months before a deadline. The time allocated is based on the average amount of time typically needed to fulfil a particular obligation.
For example, if a geological mapping programme needs to be completed, the notification is issued several months in advance, allowing for the programme to be planned and executed before the deadline. After the initial notification, several subsequent reminders are sent to the licence manager as the deadline approaches.
Van Antwerpen says the LMS system showcases Minrom Consulting’s support of junior mining companies, as well as exploration and prospecting companies, to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements for licences.
The system helps to ensure that they have a complete record of all licence and permit documentation and processes, thereby mitigating risk and ensuring relatively unhindered implementation of projects.J
unior miners can create jobs and value out of deposits that would otherwise not be developed to add any value to the economy,” Van Antwerpen explains.
Duncan adds that, in addition to licence management assistance, junior miners have unique needs in that the scale of their operations do not justify large geological and resource management departments. Nonetheless, juniors still need geological support.
Moreover, Minrom Consulting’s off-site services – such as resource reporting, block model optimisation, block modelling, remodelling and updating, as well as global information system services, can be invaluable to small-scale miners that generally do not have the software, skills or in-house knowledge to access this information.