L'épineuseproblématiquede l'ampodation –非洲法语国家“ Amodification”的棘手问题

« 不可迁移的永久性宪法 不可战胜的 易受伤害的人 » [1]  [emphasis added]

A substantial number of the companies operating in the 矿业 industry in Francophone 非洲 are from common law jurisdictions such as Australia, the United Kingdom or Canada.  Executives of such companies oftentimes assume that things work a certain way in the 矿业 industry and that, for example, earn-in or option agreements (agreements pursuant to which a company is able to acquire an interest in a project or project company provided that it performs certain work and financial obligations) are a well-established and widely accepted method through which a 矿业 company can either grant or acquire 矿业 rights in pretty much any jurisdiction. 

倾向于认为普通法制度下的灵活性类型应该或多或少地在其他司法管辖区占主导地位的公司将被很好地密切关注其经营所在国家/地区的法律细节,以便确保他们对收益安排所做的假设与这些管辖区的法律相一致。

The fact is that the 矿业 legislation of a number of countries in Francophone 非洲 contains a variation of the provision cited at the beginning of the article, which on its face, does not allow exploration permits to be subject to earn-in arrangements. 

在本文中,我们讨论了“阳极氧化”的概念和背景,并建议在构造非洲法语国家的矿产资产收购或处置结构时应谨慎考虑。

什么是改装?

适应性” is defined in a number of 矿业 codes as the lease for a definite or indefinite period without the ability to sub-lease of part or all of the rights attached to a 矿业 title, in consideration for such remuneration as agreed to between the parties.[2] 

我们认为该定义是不完善的,因为“租赁”一词表明,尽管承租人将享有矿产使用权,但最终不会获得对矿产所有权的权益。 然而,实际上,在各方之间约定的报酬形式中,通常要求“承租人”在矿产项目或拥有该矿产项目所有权的公司中拥有权益,但前提是要履行该安排下的义务。 实际上,根据我们的经验,公司签订商品转让协议所寻求的报酬或对价几乎总是获得有关矿产项目的权益。 因此,“租赁”概念比“租赁”概念更接近“农场”或“收益”概念。 

Moreover, we note that the 矿业 codes that state that amodiation is not allowed in respect of exploration permits typically expressly allow it in respect of 矿业 permits (剥削).  为什么会这样?

概述和背景

我们的评估是,非洲法语国家的多个司法管辖区所采用的适应性定义源于刚果民主共和国(DRC)在与大多数其他司法管辖区的司法管辖区相去甚远的背景下制定的惯例。法语非洲。

We understand that the practice of amodiation developed in the DRC in the early 2000s where State-owned 矿业 companies (such as Gécamines) had a number of development-stage assets in respect of which they held 矿业 permits but did not possess the resources, either technical or financial, to develop.  As such,  the 2002 矿业 code of the DRC enshrined the concept of “amodiation” pursuant to which a third party company would finance, develop and operate the 矿业 projects on behalf of the State-owned companies, and would make payments to them in the form of maintenance and royalty payments in consideration therefor. 《刚果民主共和国矿业法典》(2002年)第177条不仅定义了变更,还规定了变更协议中的强制性规定。此外,在2006年,签订了示范协定[3] 采纳Gécamines协议作为Gécamines与第三方之间订立变更协议的基础。

我们注意到,刚果(金)《采矿法》(2002年)中对“阳极氧化”一词的定义[4] is identical to the one used in a number of 矿业 codes that were enacted post-2002 throughout Francophone 非洲, although one would argue that the context of those jurisdictions is markedly different from the one which gave rise the development of this practice in the DRC.

As currently drafted, “amodiation” as defined in the 矿业 legislation of a number of countries in Francophone 非洲, appears to be a form of arrangement intended to allow development stage companies to gain access to financing and technical expertise to get projects through to the 矿业 phase.  The fact is that unlike the DRC in the early 2000s, most countries in Francophone 非洲 do not have a large number of development-stage 矿业 assets held by State-owned companies that they are desperately seeking to bring to production. 这些国家应通过消除不必要的障碍(包括限制盈利安排的形式),集中精力增加对勘探领域的投资。

勘探许可证的转让

在实践中,就勘探阶段公司而言,变更通常对应于一项安排,根据该安排,勘探许可证的持有人同意向第三方授予该项目的权益,但前提是该第三方完成某些工程并招致该项目的某些支出。

The reality of the 矿业 industry is that a 矿业 project in respect of which a feasibility study has been completed will have a number of financing options available (including project financing) and will generally have a lesser need for amodiation than an exploration-stage company.  To assert that the ability to enter into an amodiation arrangement is generally more important for exploration-stage companies than it is for development or 矿业 stage companies does therefore seem fairly axiomatic.

It is known in the 矿业 industry that the vast majority of the exploration of greenfield projects is done by cash-strapped junior 矿业 companies which tend to obtain their financings on stock exchanges such as AIM, the ASX or TSXV, are very much dependent on their ability to raise financing on these exchanges, and are highly susceptible to the cyclical nature of the 矿业 sector. 这些正是这些公司的类型,有时可能需要出售他们的一些权利,以便视情况生存,坚持其勘探项目或推进它们。  进入盈利安排的能力也与拥有更大资本机会的较大公司有关,这些公司可能出于战略原因或为了使其风险敞口多样化和降低风险而选择采用这种方式。

This raises the question as to why so many 矿业 codes in Francophone 非洲 do not allow the amodiation of exploration permits.

限制勘探许可的依据

在立法者看来,由于要求勘探许可证的申请人证明其技术和财务能力,勘探许可证的受让人应具有必要的技术和财务资源,以执行其许可证中包含的工作计划无需第三方协助的应用程序。  Clearly, this rationale ignores the reality of mine financing and of the 矿业 industry. 

此外,在过去几年中,非洲法语国家的许多矿山管理部门和民间团体对外国公司(即没有财务和技术资格的公司对矿产许可证的投机)表示担忧。据称,他们在非洲大陆上寻找许可证,因为它们无意发展,而是热衷于收购并出售给其他公司以谋取利润。[5]  不管人们对矿产许可证的“投机”持何种观点,无论它最终对东道国构成净收益还是不利,事实是,这仍然是公众舆论中高度敏感和有争议的问题。法语非洲。

此外,矿山主管部门通常认为授予勘探许可证是 直觉人格,这是大陆法系众所周知的概念,它确认授予权利或与之建立关系的人对于合同或法律关系至关重要。

Not all of the countries in Francophone 非洲 have followed the lead of the DRC in relation to the treatment of amodiation in their 矿业 legislation. The Republic of Guinea is an example of a 国家 that appears to have embraced a more pragmatic approach on this issue, as it allows the holder of an exploration permit to enter into technical partnerships to raise the necessary capital to finance exploration activities, provided that the partnership is submitted to the Minister of Mines for his approval and that the permit is not transferred either directly or indirectly.[6]   This approach gives the titleholder some flexibility to enter into earn-in arrangements, while 地址ing the concerns of the mines administration by giving it the ability to review and sign off on such arrangements.[7] 

Because the restrictions respecting earn-in arrangements for exploration permits are not consistent with the practice in the 矿业 industry, it appears that a number of 矿业 companies simply disregard them. 我们建议忽略这些限制的公司自负风险。

违反关于住房的规定的后果是什么?

Entering into an “unlawful” earn-in arrangement can cause significant adverse local liability. For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, article 182 of the 矿业 code states that the holder of a 矿业 title that does not submit for prior approval to the administration all of the memoranda of understanding or agreements pursuant to which it intends to entrust, transfer or assign in part or in full the rights and obligations related to said title can be subject to imprisonment between 1 and 3 years and a penalty between 10 million and 50 million FCFA. 同样,相关许可证也可能被吊销。 

此外,考虑到矿山主管部门可能不承认这样的安排,而打算就勘探许可证达成变更安排的公司承担着重大风险,而且在某些情况下,矿山主管部门甚至可以认为相关公司是从事未经授权的勘探作业。

最后的想法

As discussed above, the rationale behind the restriction related to amodiation of exploration permits seems inconsistent with the realities of the 矿业 sector and the financing of exploration projects.

Too often in an effort to benchmark, drafters of 矿业 legislation include provisions from other 矿业 codes that do not reflect the realities of their 国家.  Restrictions on the ability to enter into earn-in arrangements limit the ability of companies to obtain financing and to develop exploration stage 矿业 projects, and ultimately impede the development of the 矿业 sector, while adducing little benefit to host countries.

It is our view that 矿业 codes should be aligned with the realities of the 矿业 industry, and that as such, title holders of exploration permits should be allowed to enter into amodiation arrangements with third parties, subject to reasonable terms and conditions to be set out in the relevant legislation.  In the meantime, companies should comply with all applicable 矿业 legislation. 有一些方法可以解决与适应相关的限制。 公司应在签订收益协议之前咨询其法律顾问,以确保遵守相关法律。

 

[1] 2014年《科特迪瓦采矿法》第20条

[2] See definitions section of 矿业 codes of Mali (2012) and Côte d’Ivoire (2014), Guinea (2011 as amended in 2013)

[3] 公约》第31 / COPIREP / SE / 02/2005号公约

[4] 固定期限内无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产,无固定资产的企业Amodiataire。 (第177条)

[5] Those familiar with this issue will recall that the concern regarding the speculation of 矿业 titles gave rise to the introduction of the capital gains tax on the transfer of permits in a number of jurisdictions of the 地区.

[6] 见《几内亚采矿法》第十九条(2011年,2013年修订)

[7] 话虽如此,我们认为在部长批准该安排的范围内,应允许通过收益将间接许可转让给项目公司。

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