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Mines and Minerals

The ownership of minerals in the Isle of Man is vested in the Department of Economic Development under the Minerals Act 1986. The Department permits operators/developers to extract minerals via mining leases, mining licences and mining permissions and the Minerals Act 1986 broadly sets out the circumstances and procedures by which these Agreements are granted.

The system of mineral ownership on the Isle of Man differs significantly from that in the UK. Mineral ownership in the UK is generally linked to the ownership of the surface of the land. The Minerals Act 1986 was introduced to clarify the position and vested all mines and minerals in the then Department of Industry, with minor exceptions. Individuals are required to obtain working rights from the Department.

Quarry operators wishing to apply to extract minerals or any developers (where minerals need to be extracted incidental to development) in the Isle of Man may make an application for a:

  • mining lease - intended for extracting significant quantities of mineral over a specified period of time;
  • mining licence - intended for extracting mineral over a short period of time e.g. 6 - 12 months;
  • mining permission - for a very short period of time e.g. 3 months or where the amount of mineral extracted is very small;
  • prospecting licence - for prospecting on a specific piece of land over a short period of time; and
  • mining facilities permit - to permit a specified piece of land to be used in accordance with an acquired ancillary right to facilitate the working of mines and minerals.

Mineral operators/developers needing to extract minerals will need to complete and submit to the Department of Economic Development the 'Application form to search for or work minerals in the Isle of Man' - see downloadable documents.

Quarry operators/developers are expected to have, or have applied for, planning permission for land which is the subject of a minerals extraction application or an application for development which involves ancillary mineral extraction. If you would like advice on making an application or regarding the process of an application, please contact the Department of Economic Development.

Overall, the Department of Economic Development has a duty to ensure that finite mineral resources are exploited as necessary and in a sustainable and controlled manner.

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