Mining Law and Policy Concentration - Online

For Master of Legal Studies (MLS) and Master of Laws (LLM)

A group of people in hard hats explore a mine

University of Arizona Law's Master of Legal Studies (MLS) / Master of Laws (LLM) fully online degrees with a concentration in Mining Law and Policy introduces lawyers and mining professionals to the range of legal issues that arise in the acquisition of mineral properties and the related financing, mining and environmental considerations faced by the modern mining industry.

The degree takes advantage of the world-class educational resources in mining and mining law available at The University of Arizona, including the James E. Rogers College of Law and the J. David Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources (which includes connections with the university's public health, science, and engineering departments). As a result of these resources and the strong collaboration with other departments who are undertaking mining-related research across campus, we are able to offer you both broad and deep training in a variety of aspects of mining, from the business side of mining to regulatory compliance, tax, environmental, and concerns of indigenous peoples.

Upon completion of the degree, you should be able to:

  • Explain basic geology and mining techniques.
  • Summarize the substantive laws related to domestic and international mining tenure systems.
  • Evaluate the areas of business authority, title, permitting and environmental due diligence that require examination in mineral rights acquisition.
  • Describe the various types of agreements for acquisition and development of mineral properties.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of mineral financing, valuation and tax issues.
  • Apply the concept of sustainable development in viewing the impact of mineral development and particularly as applied to accommodating the values and concerns of Native American and indigenous peoples.

Duration of Degrees

MLS Degree

The Master of Legal Studies with a concentration in mining law and policy online is a one-year degree program when pursued on a full-time basis, or a two or more years when pursued on a part-time basis. 

This degree requires the completion of 30 units from the curriculum described below or other approved online or short courses offered by the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources. New courses are added each semester. Courses are 7.5 weeks in length. They are offered during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Students are part of the UA Online campus.

LLM Degree

The Master of Laws with a concentration in mining law and policy online is a one-year degree program when pursued on a full-time basis, or a two or more years when pursued on a part-time basis. 

This degree requires the completion of 24 units from the curriculum described below or other approved online or short courses offered by the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources. New courses are added each semester. Courses are 7.5 weeks in length. They are offered during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Students are part of the UA Online or Global campus.


Online Tuition & Fees
for students residing in the U.S.

$700 per unit (excluding Mandatory University fees, assessed each semester).

Global Online Tuition & Fees
for students residing outside the U.S.

Visit our Global Campus website for tuition information.

Currently, no scholarship assistance is available in the Mining Law program, although assistance may otherwise be available through the general scholarship programs of the university.

Application Information


Start dates are offered throughout the year. Email the MLS program director(link sends e-mail) for specific application dates. To begin your application, visit the Arizona Law online application system.


Start dates are offered throughout the year. Email the MLS program director(link sends e-mail) or the LLM program director (link to Ernestina) for specific application dates. To begin your application, visit the Arizona Law online application system.


Mining Law and Policy Concentration Courses

JD students interested in taking online courses should contact the Registrar's office at sends e-mail).

Although not all courses are offered every semester, a list of possible electives can be found on the course schedule.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Environmental Law
  • Introduction to the Common Law: Trespass/Private Nuisance
  • Introduction to the Common Law: Public Nuisance
  • Administrative Law
  • Goal/Objectives of Environmental Law
  • Regulatory Approaches to Air Quality Regulation
  • Regulatory Approaches to Water Quality Regulation
  • Regulatory Approaches to Species Protection
  • Technology Based Environmental Standards
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) & Information Gathering
  • Other Approaches to Information Gathering
  • The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • CERCLA and Potentially Responsible Parties
  • CERCLA and Liability
  • Environmental Federalism
  • State and Federal Roles in Governing Air Quality
  • Air Quality Standards
  • State and Federal Roles in Preventing Water Pollution and Ecological Disturbance
  • Individual Water Pollution Source Requirements
  • Protecting Wetlands
  • Traditional Approaches to Regulation
  • Economic Incentive Regulation
  • Enforcement

Topics include:

  • Legal Systems
  • Contracts
  • Torts
  • Constitutional Law
  • Property
  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Water and Mineral Rights

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Comparative and International Mining Law
  • Historical Basis of Mining Law 
  • The Mining Laws of the United States 
  • Burdens on Mineral Production
  • Financing 
  • International Conventions Related to Mining Development 
  • Select Country Laws: Latin America
  • Select Country Laws: Africa
  • Select Country Laws: Europe
  • Select Country Laws: The Common Law Legacy 
  • Select Country Laws: Asia and the Subcontinent
  • Artisanal Mining Practices 
  • The Future 

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Public Lands and Public Land Surveys 
  • Historical Aggregation of the Public Lands 
  • Disposition and Management of the Public Lands 
  • Federal Jurisdiction and Management of the Public Lands 
  • Federal Preemption and Limits on the Excise of Federal Authority 
  • Access  
  • Public Land Records 
  • Ore Deposits, Exploration, Development, and Mining Technology 
  • Mineral Laws, Historical Development 
  • Location Procedures 
  • “Discovery” of “Valuable Mineral” 
  • Pre-Discovery Rights 
  • Rights under Mining Claims 
  • Maintenance of Mining Claims 
  • Patents 
  • Mineral Reservations

Topics include:

  • Course Overview and Public Lands 
  • The Law of the Commons 
  • The Federal Land Management Planning Process 
  • Grazing Rights 
  • Timber Resources 
  • Wildlife Resources 
  • Recreation Resources 
  • Cultural Resources 
  • Marine Resources 
  • Water Resources 
  • Mineral Resources 
  • Multiple Use Management 

Topics include:

  • Due Diligence
  • Selection and Comparison of Contractual Vehicles
  • Other Agreements
  • Protection of Confidential and Proprietary Information
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Permitting and Public Relations Interface

Topics include:

  • History and Legal Framework for Industrial Hygiene
  • Understanding Safety Data
  • Elements of Mining Law
  • Comparative Laws
  • Safety and Health Management Systems
  • Health Exposures and Management
  • Disease and Illness

Topics include:

  • Business Sectors
  • Exploration
  • Environmental Management
  • Social License to Operate

Topics include:

  • Introduction 
    • Introduction to the Course
    • Financial Statement Basics 
    • Influence of Tax Laws 
    • Why All Mining Taxes are Important
    • Types of Taxes on Mining  
    • Basic Mining Operations 
  • Tax Law
    • Percentage Depletion 
    • Black Hole Rule 
    • Economic Interest V. Contract Mining 
    • Royalty V. Production Payment 
    • Percentage & Cost Depletion – Double Deduction? 
    • Receding Face Doctrine 
    • IRC Section 468 
    • Foreign Branch or Subsidiary 
    • Multijurisdictional Companies 
    • Pass Through Entities 
    • Joint Ventures 
    • Disguised Sales 
    • Foreign Tax Credits (FTC) 
    • FTC – Other Potential Issues 
    • Property Taxes
    • Recap Mining Tax Laws 
  • Tax Policy
    • Tax Policy
    • Mining Tax Policy Basics 
    • Royalty Levied on Gross or Net? 
    • Australian MRRT 
    • MRRT Ripple Effects  
    • Significant Changes Elsewhere 
    • Sharing Tax Revenues Within a Country 
    • Other Aspects: Mandatory Employee Profit Sharing 
    • Tax Policy & Studies 
    • Governments Competing for Tax Revenues 
    • Transfer Pricing 
    • BEPS 
    • Country by Country Reporting 
    • Tax Morality & Tax Policy Recap 
  • Sustainability and Disclosure
    • Sustainability & Disclosure History
    • Publish What You Pay For 
    • Extractive Industry Transparency Issue (EITI) 
    • Required Disclosure 
    • Dodd-Frank Section 1504 
    • Global Legislation 
    • Mining Companies’ Tax Transparency 
    • Analyzing All Payments to Government 
    • Best Practices Disclosure 
    • Rio Tinto - “Taxes Paid” 
    • Perfect World 
    • Course Summary 

Topics include:

  • Global and Local Environmental Challenges
    • Scenario: The Aral Sea 
    • Introduction to Challenges 
    • Global Challenges 
    • Local Challenges
  • Human Activity
    • Scenario: What is Renewable?
    • Environmental Impact Assessments 
    • Consumption vs. Sustainability
  • Economics and Poverty
    • Scenario: Game of Prawns 
    • Theory and Policy 
    • Property: Tragedy of the Commons 
    • Regulatory Models in Perspective
  • History of IEL
    • Scenario: What is Sustainable?
    • Major Milestones 
    • Normative Developments 
    • Institution Building 
  • The Role of International Organizations
    • Scenario: What is a Bank? 
    • Major Actors
    • Int’l Financial Institutions
    • Lending and Human Rights
  • Sources of IEL
    • Scenario: What Makes a Good Treaty?
    • Treaties and Treaty Making
    • Environmental Protections
    • General IEL Principles
  • Principles and Concepts
    • Scenario: What is a Good Neighbor?
    • State Sovereignty
    • Consultation and the Precautionary Principle  

Topics include:

  • Legal Background on NEPA 
  • Overview of NEPA 
  • Levels of NEPA Analysis 
  • Scoping and Issues Identification 
  • Decision Makers in NEPA 
  • Components of EA 
  • Components: Purpose and Need 
  • Components: Alternatives 
  • Components: Affected Environment 
  • Components: Environmental Impacts 
  • Components: Cumulative Environmental Impacts 
  • Decision-Making 
  • Administrative Record 
  • Federal Land Managing Agencies 
  • Overview of Land Mgt Agencies 
  • Overview of Regulatory Agencies 
  • USDA FS 
  • USDA FS – Case Histories 
  • USDI BLM – Case Histories 
  • Comparison of FS and BLM 
  • Current Trends 
  • US EPA 
  • US Army Corps of Engineers 
  • USFWS 
  • Socioeconomic and EJ 
  • Climate Change 
  • Summary of NEPA 
  • Discussion on Trends in NEPA

Topics include:

  • What is a Corporation and Why Does It Exist?
  • The Basics of the Mining Business
  • Talent Requirements & The Board of Directors
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • When Corporations Fails
  • Topics in Leadership & Diversity of Style
  • What is Effective Leadership?

Topics include:

  • Applied Valuation and Mineral Project Overview 
  • Managerial Accounting Basics 
  • Mineral Reserves and Resources 
  • Historical Perspective on Valuation in the Mining Industry 
  • Cost Approach to Value 
  • Market Approach to Value 
  • Market Approach Illustration 
  • Income Approach to Value 
    • Net Present Value Basics
    • Nominal and Constant Currency Value
    • Cash Flow Modeling 
      • Modeling Architecture 
      • Product Price Assumptions 
        • Consensus Metal Price Forecast 
    • Capital and Operating Costs 
    • Price and Cost Escalation 
    • Mining Taxation 
    • Mineral Royalties 
    • Defining Discount Rates 
    • DCF Modeling Practice 
      • Financial Modeler’s Manifesto 
    • Leveraged Cash Flow 
  • Risk Assessment in Valuing Mineral Assets 
    • Risk Assessment in Valuing Mineral Assets
    • Sensitivity Analysis
    • Accessing Risk Using the Monte Carlo Simulation 
  • Real Option Valuation
    • Real Option Valuation 
    • Obstacles to Industry Application of Real Option Techniques

Topics include:

  • Due Diligence
  • Acquisitions and Negotiations
  • Public Market Financing and Public Company Fundamentals
  • Debt Financing
  • Dividends
  • Review

  • Start Here 
    • Introduction and Background 
    • Global Governance Without Global Government 
  • Treaties As An Option for Global Governance
    • The Treaty Option 
    • A Case Study of the Basel Convention 
  • The First Modern Standards 
    • What is the World Bank? How does it work? And what are World Bank standards? 
    • Applying Public Sector Standards to the Private Sector – The Pangue Experience 
    • An Introduction to the Current IFC Performance Standards – PS 1: Social and Environmental Assessment and the Duty to Consult
    • PS 5: Land Acquisition and Resettlement 
    • PS 5 and Where it is Evolving 
    • PS 6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources 
    • PS 8: Cultural Heritage – Mes Aynak as a Case Study 
  • The Early 2000s: An Explosion of Process 
    • Minerals-Based Development – Sustainable Development and the Resource Curse 
    • Multistakeholder Dialogue as a Means to Global Rules 
    • The World Commission on Dams 
    • Extractive Industries and Conflict – The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights 
    • Case Study: The Grasberg Mine 
    • Corruption as an Obstacle to Resource-Based Development 
    • The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative 
    • The Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Project 
  • Indigenous Peoples 
    • ILO Convention 169; PS 7 and Their Significance 
    • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 
  • Commercial Standards 
    • International Reserve Reporting Standards; The ISO System 
    • Transfer Pricing and Tax Evasion as an Obstacle to Development 
    • OECD Guidelines on Transfer Pricing 
    • Improving the Deal: The Model Mine Development Agreement 
  • Claims and Litigation 
    • The WTO Process: China’s Rare Earths Policy as a Case Study 
    • ICSID, the ICSID Convention, Regional Trade Agreement and Bilateral Investment Treaties
    • How the Arbitration System Works – Case Study 

Other Elective Courses

  • Into to Human Rights
  • International Law: The Basics 
  • The Birth of Modern International Human Rights 
  • The International Bill of Rights & Regional Counterparts 
  • Modern International Human Rights 
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Redux & Application 
  • Right to Equality & Non-Discrimination 
  • Women’s Rights 
  • Evolution of Rights – Sexual Orientation Discrimination 
  • Collective Rights – Rights of Indigenous Peoples 
  • Rights of Vulnerable Peoples – Refugees & Asylum Seekers 
  • States of Emergency, National Security, and Armed Conflict 
  • Right to Life & Genocide 
  • Freedom from Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment 
  • Right to Liberty and Right to Equality Before the Law – The Right to a Fair Trial 
  • Class 16: International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: Redux 
  • Right to An Adequate Standard of Living – The Right to Water 
  • Right to Health 
  • Right to Education and Right to Science 
  • Implementing Human Rights: Introduction 
  • The United Nations System: Charter-Based Bodies 
  • UN Charter-Based Bodies 
  • The UN System: Treaty-Based Bodies 
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia & International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda 
  • International Criminal Court 
  • Regional Systems: Introduction 
  • Inter-American System of Human Rights 
  • African System of Human Rights 
  • US Domestic Law and Human Rights 
  • Business and Human Rights 
  • Environmental Justice and Human Rights 
  • Summary 

Topics include:

  • Typical Transactions and the Making of International Private Law 
  • International Sales Law / Vienna Sales Convention (CISG) 
  • International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS) 
  • Sea and Air Carriage of Goods and Documentation 
  • Letters of Credit and Bank Guarantees 
  • Wire Transfers 
  • Secured Lending 
  • Receivables Financing 
  • Cape Town Convention 
  • Holding of Securities Through Intermediaries 
  • Commodity Exchanges, Contracts and Accounts, and Swaps 
  • Cross-Border Insolvency

Topics include:

  • Federal System & Federal Indian Policy 
    • Who Is? 
    • Overview of Federal Indian Policy 
    • Foundational Principles of Federal Indian Law 
    • Major Players in the Federal System 
  • Tribal Government 
    • Tribal Recognition 
    • Tribal Governments 
    • Tribal Constitutions 
    • Tribal Courts 
  • Indian & Tribal Lands
    • Indian Country 
    • Residual Effects of Allotment 
  • Economic Development and Gaming 
    • Economic Development 
    • Gaming 
  • Individual Rights 
    • As US Citizens 
    • Individuals on Reservations 
  • Crime Control 
    • Who Can Prosecute? 
    • VAWA and TLOA 
  • Cultural Issues 
    • Religious Freedom 
    • Sacred Sites 
    • Cultural Appropriation 
    • NAGPRA 
  • Family and Child Welfare
    • History and Families 
    • Indian Child Welfare Act 
  • States and Tribes 
    • States and Tribes 
    • Public Law 280 
  • Natural Resources and the Environment 
    • Off-Reservation Subsistence Rights 
    • Resolving Environmental Disputes 
  • International Law 
    • UN and Regional Bodies 
    • Human Rights Issues 
  • Conclusion 
    • Dispute Resolution Issues
    • Looking Forward 

Topics include:

  • Course Introduction 
  • What Is IP? 
  • Theories of Intellectual Property 
  • Patent: Introduction 
  • Patent: Subject Matter 
  • Patent: Subject Matter Exceptions 
  • Patent: Utility 
  • Patent: Novelty 
  • Patent: Novelty and Priority 
  • Patent: Non-Obviousness
  • Patent: Disclosure – Claims 
  • Patent: Disclosure – Specification 
  • Patent: Direct Infringement I 
  • Patent: Direct Infringement II 
  • Patent: Other Types of Infringement 
  • Patent: Remedies 
  • Copyright: Introduction 
  • Copyright: Subject Matter and Fixation
  • Copyright: Ownership 
  • Copyright: Duration and Rights 
  • Copyright: Direct Infringement
  • Copyright: Indirect Infringement 
  • Copyright: Fair Use
  • Copyright: Remedies 
  • Copyright: Remedies – Statutory Damages 
  • Trademarks: Introduction 
  • Trademarks: Use 
  • Trademarks: Distinctiveness  
  • Trademarks: Refusing Registration 
  • Trademarks: Priority 
  • Trademarks: Infringement by Confusion 
  • Trademarks: Infringement by Dilution 
  • Trademarks: Defenses 
  • Trademarks: Remedies 

Topics include:

  • Introduction 
    • The Nature of Organizations 
    • Case Study: Wells Fargo in Crisis
    • Case Study: Tech Founders 
  • Criminal Liability 
    • Criminal Liability 
  • Fiduciary Duties and Oversight Liability
    • Fiduciary Duties and Oversight Liability 
    • Case Study: Theranos 
  • Identity and Culture 
    • Identity Statements 
    • CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility  
    • Codes of Conduct 
    • Wall Street v. Walmart 
  • Compliance Programs and Whistleblowers
    • Compliance Programs
    • Whistleblowers 
    • Digital Realty Trust v. Somers 
  • Failures and Internal Investigations 
    • Common Characteristics of Failures 
    • Internal Investigations 
    • Case Study: Uber 
  • Case Studies 
    • Mavericks: Sexual Harassment
    • Siemens: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) 
    • Hewlett-Packard (HP): Secret Surveillance of Directors and Journalists 

Topics include:

  • Interactions between Indigenous peoples and other sovereigns
  • Key opinions related to American Indian natural resources law
  • Legal principles that govern the administration of American Indian natural resources
  • Counter-examples from jurisdictions abroad, including, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, we have students from Peru taking our online courses and thousands of students at our micro campuses in Vietnam, China, and Cambodia.
  • We provide English captions on all our videos so you can read along.
  • We also provide all the PowerPoint slides used in the videos for students who like to review them (English as a second language learners find these very helpful).

  • They are all prerecorded videos that you can play as many times as you wish!
  • All our online courses are asynchronous, meaning there are no live classes to attend. You can learn the material on your own timeframe, but there are weekly due dates to help you stay on track.

  • There are 8 weekly modules.
  • Each module runs Monday through Sunday.
  • It's up to you when you log in and complete the work, as long as it is all done by Sunday so you can finish it all by Friday to spend time with your children all weekend.
  • I remember how most everything was closed on Sundays in Santiago for family time! It's so important!

  • There are no oral tests!
  • All assessments are in the course sites; you take them on time.
  • The types of assessments are discussion posts, short quizzes, short written assignments, and maybe a final exam.  
  • Not all courses use each type of assessment.
  • There is at least 1 course- Global Mining Tax course (Law 640H)- that asks you to complete an Excel spreadsheet.

  • Our mining law courses see between 2 -25 students per class since they are specialty classes. 
  • There are no large class sizes in the Mining Law program.
  • We began our master's program in 2016 with one mining law student.
  • To date, thousands of students have taken our courses and graduated with a master's degree.
  • This spring we have our largest Master of Legal Studies class with over 140 students.
  • Masters degree students taking our Mining Law concentration are fewer because the field is narrower.

  • Great news! We recognize global students may not have access to textbooks or certain websites, so we provide everything inside the course site.
  • There are no textbooks to purchase or outside technologies to purchase.

  • I've copied the Global Law Mining team on this email as they have the breakdown of fees.
  • It will depend on the type of degrees you already have, which degree you are interested in (Master of Laws (for existing lawyers) or Master of Legal Studies (for non-lawyers)), and which campus you enroll through (Arizona Online or Arizona International Direct). 
  • The different campuses have different fees and tuition rates. Generally, we see Arizona International Direct provides the lowest cost.
  • We work with employers on tuition discounts for Arizona Online students via a Corporate Partnership program that may be available to your employer. 

  • All of our fall and spring courses run 7.5 weeks.
  • Our summer courses run either 13 or 6 weeks.
  • Most of our courses are 3 units.
    • A 3-unit course takes 18-20 hours per week for a student to do the work.
  • A full-time student would take 2 courses at a time.
  • A part-time student would generally take 1 course at a time.
  • The Master of Laws degree (for students who are already lawyers) is 24 units. 
    • This can be done in 8 or 12 months by taking 8, 3-unit courses.
      • 4 in the fall, 4 in the spring- this would be a full-time student
      • Or as a part-time student, 3 in the fall, 3 in the spring and 2 in the summer
    • There is no time limit for the program so you could pace it out for 1.5 to 2 years, per your schedule.
  • The Master of Legal Studies (for non-lawyers) is 30 units as they take basic law courses first.
    • This can be done in 12 months by taking 10, 3-unit courses.
    • 5 in the fall, 5 in the spring, 2 in the summer as a full-time student
    • This can be done as a part-time student over 2 years
      • 2 courses in the fall, 2 courses in the spring, 1 course in the summer for almost 2 years.

Key Contacts

John Lacy
Director, Global Mining Law; Professor of Practice

Phone: 520-322-5000
Email John Lacy