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Applying for an extension of a main operating plan for mining

If your company wants to explore, extract and process mineral resources, you must draw up a main operating plan, among other things. If you want to extend it, you must apply for approval from the relevant authority.

In order to set up and run an exploration, extraction or processing operation, you as an entrepreneur need an approved main operating plan.

An operating plan is used to monitor operations. It generally includes comprehensive explanations and planning documents for planned mining measures, for example with regard to

  • Location and extent,
  • technical implementation
  • scheduling,
  • possible effects on people and the environment,
  • measures to avoid and minimize negative effects on the environment,
  • operational and occupational safety.

The duration of the main operating plan is usually several years. The competent authority decides on the duration on a case-by-case basis. An important criterion here is the foreseeability of the operating plan. In practice, the term can then be extended by a few years without a new main operating plan having to be drawn up and comprehensively reviewed.

With the extension of the license, you may continue to explore, extract and process mineral resources that are subject to the Federal Mining Act. These include energy resources such as hard coal and lignite or crude oil and natural gas, but also metals, salts, geothermal energy and lithium.


In order for the competent authority to approve the extension of your main operating plan, certain requirements must be met, which may have already been checked in the procedure for approval of the main operating plan:

  • Your project must not conflict with any overriding public interests.
  • You must be able to prove that you have the officially issued authorization for the exploration or extraction of non-mining mineral resources or the rights to the natural mineral resources.
  • You must be able to prove that your company and your managerial staff or representatives have the necessary reliability and also the necessary expertise and physical fitness.
  • You must take all necessary safety measures to prevent risks to the life and health of employees and third parties in the company. These measures must also ensure the protection of material assets,
  • Your work must not impair other mineral resources whose protection is in the public interest.
  • The earth's surface must be protected in the interests of personal safety and public traffic.
  • The waste produced must be properly reused or disposed of.
  • You must take precautions to ensure that
    • the surfaces can subsequently be made usable again to the extent required by the circumstances,
    • the safety of other mining operations is not jeopardized,
    • the exploration or extraction of mineral resources does not result in any harmful consequences for the general public and in the case of mining operations in the area of the continental shelf or coastal waters:
      • shipping facilities and signs are not impaired and
      • shipping and shipping lanes, airspace, fishing and flora and fauna are not unreasonably impaired
      • underwater cables and pipelines as well as oceanographic or other scientific research are not impaired more than is unavoidable under the circumstances and
      • the damaging effects on the sea are kept to a minimum
  • You may be required to provide the competent authority with a security deposit with a insurance, a bank guarantee, letter of comfort or similar, which covers the above-mentioned risks.