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Practice Guide to Auditing Mining Revenues and Financial Assurances for Site Remediation

Other Sources of Revenues

In addition to royalties, governments can collect other revenues at different phases of the life cycle of mining projects.


During the exploration phase of a mining project, it is usual for governments to require proponents to pay a set rate for the lease of each unit of land they intend to explore. Alternatively, governments can auction exploration rights over certain territories. In both cases, proponents pay to secure the exclusive rights to conduct exploration activities over a piece of land for a determined period of time. Depending on the location and size of land parcels, the type and market value of natural resources, and general economic circumstances, lease fees and auctions can generate significant revenues for governments.

Licence and permit fees

Through the successive phases of mining projects, project proponents may be required by regulations to obtain a number of licences or permits to conduct specific exploration, production, or decommissioning activities (a licence to build a tailings dam, for example). Governments may charge a fee for these licences and permits. However, these fees are usually small and often do not provide significant revenues for governments.


Bonuses are one-time payments made when signing a contract, launching activities at a project site, or meeting certain goals laid out in regulations or in contracts. Because bonuses are one-time payments, collecting them does not require as much administration as collecting royalties. Bonuses also do not generate as much revenues as royalties. Bonus payments are often negotiated on a case-by-case basis, considering the characteristics of each project.

Penalties and fines

Leases and licences grant certain rights to project proponents, but they also bestow obligations on them. For example, leaseholders may be required to carry out a minimum amount of work each year on a parcel of land or to hire a minimum number of workers. Penalties (or “cash in lieu”) may apply when these requirements are not met and leases may be rescinded under certain conditions. While such penalties will rarely yield significant revenues for governments, they should be set high enough to effectively deter undesirable behaviour.