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Programme: MPhil Extractive Industry Policy, Management and Regulation (Coursework)

Code Faculty Department
04251027 Faculty of Law Department: Public Law
Credits Duration NQF level
Minimum duration of study: 1 year Total credits: 200 NQF level:  09

Programme information

Closing date for applications: SA applicants – 30 September; non-SA applicants – 31 August.
This programme is structured to allow for one year of study; therefore, the programme may be completed within two semesters (1 year), subject to fulfilment of all the requirements for the degree and payment of the full amount prescribed for the MPhil degree.
Please contact the Faculty with regard to specific regulations pertaining to MPhil degree programmes.

Admission requirements

  1. LLB degree or BProc degree or relevant honours degree or relevant degree on SAQA level 8 and relevant work experience in legal aspects in South Africa or Africa
  2. A weighted average of at least 65% at final-year level
  3. An example of a piece of academic writing relevant to the field
  4. Cover letter:
  • Motivate the desire to study in the field
  • Indicate previous experience in the field, if any
  • Explain how the degree will be applied to contribute to sustainable development in Africa

Other programme-specific information

This is a selection-based programme and only selected applicants will be admitted to the programme.
The mini-dissertation must comprise 13 000 to 15 000 words – including footnotes but excluding the table of contents and the bibliography. (The methodology and content of the mini-dissertation should reflect a multidisciplinary perspective on extractive industry policy, management and regulation.)
Any request for an extension of the period for the submission of the mini-dissertation may only be granted by the Dean on recommendation of the Postgraduate Committee.

Research information

The relevant head of department must recommend a supervisor and title for a mini-dissertation and these must be approved by the Postgraduate Committee. The mini-dissertation must be assessed and finalised as set out in the Faculty Board-approved LLM Policy Document. Mini-dissertations, where required, must be submitted in the format determined by the supervisor and approved by the Postgraduate Committee. The supervisor may likewise and subject to the approval of the Postgraduate Committee determine the research topic and the scope of the proposed research.

Pass with distinction

For the degree to be awarded with distinction a student must obtain an average of at least 75% for all the coursework modules together, as well as a minimum of 75% for the mini-dissertation. The modules must have been written for the first time.

Minimum credits: 95

Core modules

  • Module content:

    The objective of this module is to equip students with a thorough understanding of the legal and policy aspects of natural resources and the regulation of natural resources and industries to extract natural resources. Topics include:

    1. Industry background such as the extractive industry value chain and the role of extractive industries in national, regional and global economies, basic extractive industry business and project feasibility metrics, typical national public policy priorities, the differences between the mining and oil and gas industries, gas industry specifics, the various downstream industries (smelters, refineries and petrochemical and energy industries and policy issues pertaining to renewable energy and unconventional extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking");
    2. Natural resource and extractive industry policy concepts and regulatory options;
    3. Ownership of mineral rights dispensations (state versus private ownership of mineral rights), the legal position of the owner of the land and the owner of the products of extraction;
    4. The advantages and disadvantages of the main granting methodologies applied by host governments including concessions, production sharing agreements, participation agreements, services agreements and hybrid methods;
    5. Typical conditions to obtain, renew or transfer exploration or extraction rights and the veracity of the public policy basis of such requirements;
    6. Agreements and transactions to transfer rights to prospect and/or to extract;
    7. Constitutional and administrative law aspects of relevance in dealing with extractive industry legislation and regulation including the legality of administrative processes governed by an Act such as the MPRD Act and related regulation, the right of third parties to be heard in applications by resource companies under the MPRD Act and the constitutionality of the conversion of "old order mineral rights" to "new order mineral rights".

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  • Module content:

    The objective of this module is to equip students with a thorough understanding of the sustainability aspects of extractive industries. Topics include:

    1. A general introduction to sustainability, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, good governance as it pertains to governments and good corporate governance;
    2. International, regional and national instruments related to sustainability aspects of extractive industries such as the protection of human rights, forced labour, inappropriate security practices, "conflict minerals" and "blood diamonds" (including the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the US Dodd-Frank Act and SEC disclosure requirements); the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the UN Global Compact; [US Dodd-Frank Act;
    3. Safety, health and environmental (SHE) aspects of extractive industries including emerging issues such as climate change and personal criminal liability of directors and officers for SHE contraventions;
    4. Corporate governance and company law developments of relevance to sustainability including the King 3 Code and similar Codes internationally, Responsible Investment Codes, the role of Social and Ethics Committees as required by the Companies Act 2008, sustainability indexes of the stock exchanges such as the JSE SRI Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, public reporting on sustainability and international reporting guidelines such as the Global Reporting Initiative

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  • Module content:

    The objective of this module is to equip students with a thorough understanding of conceptual and practical aspects of the South African Mineral and Resources Development Act and related jurisprudence.

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  • Module content:

    The aim of this module is to equip students, without a formal legal background, a thorough understanding of the various socio-economic aspects and challenges related to the sustainable development and management of mineral and hydrocarbon resources. The topics covered include:

    1. Historical, philosophical and foundational aspects of non-renewable natural resource development and regulation, with particular reference to development in an African context.
    2. Basic concepts relating to the sustainable use and development of mineral, oil and gas resources, in general, and with specific reference to sustainable development, economic viability of resource deposits, project operationalisation requirements, good governance in private and public sectors, regulatory burden and policy development.
    3. The specific interface between responsible resource development and foreign direct investment.

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  • Module content:

    In this module, the focus is on aspects of human rights research, fact finding, advocacy and education.

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  • Module content:

    1. Planning and organising a research project
    2. Drafting a research proposal: Hypotheses and research question
    3. Theory in research and methodological approaches to legal research
    4. Language
    5. Citation and ethics of citation
    6. Drafting of chapters and presentation

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Minimum credits: 105

Core modules

  • Module content:

    1. The student must submit a research proposal during his/her first year of registration for the LLM degree to the supervisor prior to commencing with the writing of the mini-dissertation.
    2. A mini-dissertation (MND 800) of 13 000 to 15 000 words inclusive of footnotes but excluding the list of contents and the bibliography, is required. The mini-dissertation must be submitted to the supervisor not later than August of the second year of registration for the LLM programme. The mini-dissertation must deal with the subject content of one of the modules or a combination of the modules registered for by the student for his/her LLM degree. Any request for an extension of the period for submission of the mini-dissertation may only be granted by the Dean on recommendation of the LLM Committee

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  • Module content:

    Development and presentation of a research  proposal. (A research proposal must be submitted to the supervisor and accepted in the first semester of the second year of study  before the student will be allowed to register for the mini-dissertation.)

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The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of students to familiarise themselves well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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