The mining research activity
The NOM, the State’s operator in the geological and mining research work, has been nowadays charged in priority with all strategic operations such as: geologic and geochemical maps revealing, geophysical coverage (gravimeter, magnetism…etc), geochemical coverage, mineral inventory, geoinformation digitization and management.
Similarly to, the NOM is called to encourage and interest the private enterprises, whether national or foreign, in investing in the mining research field. For this reason a new mining code was set up and was supported with a mining-promotion policy, which put at the potential investors’ disposal attractive dossiers likely to help them engage in the mining domain. This policy has as objective, revitalizing research works and associating the private sector with the State’s effort for the national subsoil reconnaissance.
The new mining code (law n°2003-30 of April 28, 2003, mining code promulgation)
So as to encourage the mining-research work and exploitation and have the best valorization for its mining potential, Tunisia adopted in 2003 the new mining code, which replaced that of 1953.
This is a listing of the fundamental aspects, juridical, financial and fiscal of the new Tunisian mining code.
- The mines are state-owned properties.
- An authorization of prospecting is to be granted so at to allow the researcher to carry on the necessary investigations so that to prepare the research-permission dossiers.
- Priority for application is given to those who have been granted research authorization. However, the petitioner should demonstrate sufficient technical and financial capacity capable to realize the planned work programs.
- The classified substance mines are renowned real properties and are distinguished soil property. The iron-ore extractions are renowned real properties as well as shares or held interests in an enterprise which is practicing any kind of exploitation activities.
- The research license is granted for an initial renewable-three-year period for two successive periods of three years each. Nevertheless, in case of a deposit discovery that can give right to a concession, the holder would have right to an exceptional renewal of his research license so as to evaluate the deposit, fulfill the technical-economy feasibility and eventually, carry out the project promotion.
- The exploitation and research activities of mineral substances that are classified as “mines” constitute commercial laws.
- Exploitation guarantee in of an economic discovery: the research-license holder has an exclusive right to obtain, during the license-validation time and within the expanses area, exploitation concessions which have a duration assessed according to the exploitable reservations. The concession can be prolonged as needed and according to the additional discovered reserves.
- Continuity of mining laws usage: Renewal of the mining deeds and possibilities of amodation concession.
Tax and finance incentives
- Taxes on the benefits in an average rate of 25% from the annual benefit. However, the holder is exempted from paying the tax on the benefits for the first five years starting from the beginning of the effective exploitation.
- Exemption from tax on the added value due to the occasion of the operations that are realized in Tunisia.
- The foreign mining enterprise can opt for a regime of resident/non-resident enterprise.
- Exempting the shareholders from all the taxes on the collected dividends as well as the eventual repatriement of the invested capital.
- The mining enterprises can constitute provision for deposit reconstruction (PRG) measured up to 50% of the imposed benefit to develop the mining research work apart from concession and fulfill redeployment projects.
- Fiscal stability: the holder is exempted, for his research and mining activities, from all the laws, taxes and taxation, whether direct or indirect, already instituted or will be instituted by the Tunisian State or by any organism, or local collectivities different from those that appeared in the mining code.
- The Tunisian State is responsible for the employers’ contribution to the legal regime of social security as the paid salary to the employees during a five-month period beginning of the activity start on.
- The holder can recruit, in the part of his prospecting-research and exploitation duties, foreign personnel.
- The foreign personnel can opt for a regime of national security apart from the Tunisian regime. In addition to that, they can benefit from taxation exoneration on the income of the natural persons in accordance with the salaries that they have been paid. In return, the foreign personnel is submitted to an inclusive taxation contribution fixed at 20% of the raw sums of their salaries.
- The holders benefit from the access to the national data banks.
- The licensor facilitates the implementation of the foreign enterprises as well as the acquisition of the necessary terrains to the mining projects.