Mining License

A vast volume of information about the mining industry is collected in the Economic Archives of the Institute of Modern History. The earliest documents were issued by the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce during the late Qing Dynasty, followed by the Republic of China’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Resources after the Republic Era. The comprehensiveness of the aforementioned documents can be illustrated in the many mining maps and detailed mining licenses from the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, which were established in conformity with the “Guidelines for Mining Industries” announced by the central government in Beijing and issued in March of 1914. The documents feature permitted mining locations, regional maps, and mineral deposit diagrams. The guidelines clearly stipulated rules for mining and its management. Article 25 and 28 stipulated that there must be text and illustrations in the applications for mining licenses, underlying the critical role of mining maps and mineral deposit diagrams.

There are two categories for mining licenses: prospecting permits and mining licenses. The agencies approving prospecting permits and mining licenses are two different authorities; prospecting permits are to be approved by the Director of Mining Industries in the local government while mining licenses are endorsed by the central government. Applicants for prospecting permits have priority in acquiring the corresponding mining license. The procedure for the mining license application is as follows: 1. The mining businessman submits the application to the chamber of commerce in the local government where the mine is located, attached with the mining chart, the mineral deposit booklet, the notarized resume, and other related documents; 2. After being approved by the local government, the application is then forwarded to the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce for evaluation; 3. The mining management office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce reviews the application for its conformity with the related Mining Industry Regulations and files a report of the evaluation; 4. If the evaluation results meets approval, the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce issues a mining license number that would be registered in the chamber of commerce of the local government.

Related Collection

1. Guidelines for Mining Industries
  On March 11 of 1914, the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce in Beijing announced the “Guidelines for Mining Industries” which included 111 articles, defining explicitly the rules for mining and its management.
2. Application for Yongxing Coal Mine
  The Yongxing coal mine is located north of Guardia Ridge, in Jingxing county of Chihli. These documents were compiled in 1918 by the businessman, Li Xiuting, who was applying for a mining license in Yongxing. The order of the documents is as follows: the regional map, the Li-Xiuting’s resume signed by a guarantor, the mineral deposit diagram, Chihli’s Office of Industry petition to the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, an investigative report filed by the politics department of Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, and a specific mining number and mining license issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce.
3. The mineral deposit diagram, mining area map, mining license, and prospecting permit of a coal mine located in Cai Shu An of Fangshan Xian County in Shun Tian Fu.


Text and images are provided by Digital Archives of Famous Personages, Diplomatic Records, and Economic Records in Modern China (Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica)