Mining Law and Policy Concentration - Online

Master of Legal Studies

University of Arizona Law's Master of Legal Studies (MLS) fully online degree 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 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.

Tuition

The cost is currently fixed at $650 per unit (excluding mandatory university fees). 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 for specific application dates. To begin your application, visit the Arizona Law online application system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Information

 Start dates are offered throughout the year. Check with the MLS program for specific application dates.

Yes, you can take one or more courses at a time, depending on your schedule. Courses range between 1-4 units a piece so plan your schedule carefully.

No, you can take the courses as it fits your schedule.

Students can complete the MLS program in 1 year (1 fall semester, 1 spring semester and 1 summer semester). However, two years is recommended for working professionals.

LLM students must complete their degree requirements within four years of enrolling the program. 

A “credit hour” is an amount of work that reasonably approximates: not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; The equivalent for a 7.5 week course is:

  • 1 unit: 6 hours a week
  • 2 units: 12 hours a week
  • 3 units: 18 hours a week

There are no travel or residency requirements.

We currently offer the MLS with a concentration in Mining Law and Policy online. This 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 that Institute's connections with the public health, science and engineering departments at The University). 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 students 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.

Our faculty members are internationally known for their work, whether it’s producing provocative new scholarship, influencing the practice of law, or advocating for clients in court. Much of that work sees student alongside professor, making significant contributions and growing from a true mentoring relationship.

No, the degrees are the same. The degree requirements mirror each other. The courses cover the same material. Fully online programs are offered through the UA Online campus so students do not pay an extra technology fee per course.

Course Structure

All courses are asynchronous to meet the lives of busy professionals, working families, and international students.

All law school courses use the Desire2Learn learning management system.

Assignments vary depending on the teaching style of the faculty member and course content. (Examples include quizzes, discussions, paper assignments, and etc. Most assignments will utilize Desire2Learn tools, but outside tools (for example VoiceThread) may be used as well.)

All courses include three types of interaction. Student-instructor, student-student and student-content. There is opportunity for regular and substantive interaction between the faculty member and students via assignments, feedback and grading. There is also regular monitoring and communication by faculty members assessing student effort.

No. The curriculum for each course varies depending on the content and the faculty member. Some courses may include final projects while others may require a substantial paper and/or final exam.

No. Currently, we do not include proctored exams. If we do design a course that needs to be proctored, we will use Examity. Examity is a University of Arizona supported online proctoring service provided by the University which can be accessed remotely from your home.

The courses are provided through the UA Online campus. All regular semester UA Online courses are now 7.5 weeks and summer session courses are 7 weeks.

There are short breaks between the summer and fall semesters as well as the fall and spring semesters.

Course List

Available online beginning Spring 2018

Session 1: (January 10, 2018- March 4, 2018)
Law 585 (2 units) Introduction to Legal Systems, taught by Matthew Bingham, Professor of Practice.

Law 640H (2 units) Global Mining Tax Law, Policy and Disclosure/Sustainability, taught by Stephen F. Ralbovsky, Professor of Practice.

MNE 697G (1 unit) Acquisition and Financing of Mineral Projects, taught by Douglas B. Silver, Professor of Practice.

Law 640E (1 unit) International Mining Health and Safety Law and Practice, taught by Mary Poulton, Professor Emerita.

MNE 697F (1 unit) Applied Valuation of Mineral Assets and Projects, taught by Dave Hammond
 

Session 2: (March 5, 2018- through May 10, 2018)
Law 554 (3 units) Environmental Law, taught by Kirsten Engel, Charles E. Ares Professor of Law.

Law 640 (3 units) International and Comparative Mining Law, taught by John C. Lacy, Director of the Global Mining Law Center and Professor of Practice.

Law 696I (3 units) International Environmental Law for Mineral Development, taught James Hopkins, Associate Clinical Professor, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy.

MNE 697B (1 unit) Modern Corporate organizations in the Minerals Industry / Corporate Organization and Ethics, taught by Tim Snider, Professor of Practice.

MNE 697P (1 unit plus 1 unit independent study) Natural Resource Development and Community Expectations / Community Expectations for Mineral Development and Social Sustainability, taught by Luke Danielson, Professor of Practice.

Available online beginning Summer 2018

Session 1: (May 14, 2018- June 29, 2018)

LAW 698Q (2 units Pass/Fail), Managing Public Lands under NEPA, coordinated by John C. Lacy with presentations from experienced compliance professionals.

Session 2: (July 2, 2018- August 17, 2018)

LAW 640B (1 unit), Legal Overview for Public Land Users, taught by John C. Lacy with guest interviews.

 

Available online beginning Fall 2018

Session 1: (August 20, 2018- October 10, 2018)

Law 640 (3 units) International and Comparative Mining Law, taught by John C. Lacy, Director of the Global Mining Law Center and Professor of Practice.

Law 696I (3 units) International Environmental Law for Mineral Development, taught James Hopkins, Associate Clinical Professor, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy.

Law 516 (3 units) Business Organizations, taught by Billy Sjostrom, Professor of Law

Law 555R (3 units) Intellectual Property Law

 

Session 2: (October 12, 2018- December 6, 2018)

Law 544B (3 units) International Commercial Transactions, taught by Marek Dupovek,

Law 596L (3 units) International Trade Law, taught by David A. Gantz, Samuel M. Fegtly Professor of Law, Director Emeritus, International Economic Law and Policy Program                                                                                                        

Course Descriptions

Law 640A (2-3 units) U.S. Public Land and Mining Law, taught by John C. Lacy, Director of the Global Mining Law Center and Professor of Practice.  Professor Lacy provides the benefit of almost five decades of public land and mining law practice in a review of the public land and mining laws of the United States (offered as a 2-unit course with alternative for 3 units with a substantial paper).

MNE 697G (1 unit) Acquisition and Financing of Mineral Projects, taught by Douglas B. Silver, Professor of Practice.  Professor Silver, a graduate mineral economist and mineral finance specialist, will provide students with a detailed background on the negotiation and acquisition strategies used in financing mineral resource development to equip students to be able to demonstrate successful negotiation strategies and write the terms of a successful acquisition of a mineral property.

Law 640H (2 units) Global Mining Tax – Law, Policy and Sustainability/Disclosure, taught by Stephen F. Ralbovsky, Professor of Practice. Professor Ralbovsky was US Mining Leader, US Mining Tax Leader and Global Mining Tax Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers (pwc) before his retirement. This course focuses on certain tax statutes, regulations and precedents that are specific to the mining industry as well as selected general tax areas that highly impact the mining industry. The course continues with an overview of global mining tax policy and the current trends that impact that policy. The final portion of the class focuses on the ‘pay your fair share’ portion of sustainability and the mandatory as well as best-practice disclosure of payments to government made by members of the mining industry.

MNE 697F (1 unit) Applied Valuation of Mineral Assets and Projects taught by David R. Hammond, Professor of Practice.  Professor Hammond is a mineral economist and this course provides detailed background and practical application of valuation and risk analysis approaches for determining transaction values for mineral assets.  The course will offer a comprehensive understanding of the financial analysis and risk assessment methods utilized in the natural resource industries to value mineral assets, obtain a broad understanding of current industry practices, application issues and limitations, and the sometimes misuse of these techniques.

Law 585 (2 units) Introduction to Legal Systems, taught by Matt Bingham, Professor of Practice.  Professor Bingham, the Director – Legal of Rosemont Copper Company, applies an engineering undergraduate background to review common and civil law including contracts, torts, criminal law and administrative law in a course structured for mining professionals.

Law 554 (3 units) Environmental Law, taught by Kirsten Engel, Charles E. Ares Professor of Law. This is a foundational course in environmental law and regulatory policy. The course will focus on the concepts underlying approaches to protecting the environment, using the common law and various environmental statutes primarily as examples of the different approaches to environmental protections. The course will emphasize pollution control law by studying the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The course will also study liability for contamination through a more detailed study of the Superfund law. The course will also discuss the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act. We will look not only at traditional regulatory mechanisms, but also at the opportunities for market and non-regulatory solutions. The course has a practical problem-based focus. Students should be able to use the analytic tools and knowledge gained in this course to develop solutions to a wide variety of environmental problems.

Law 640B (3 units) Contractual and Related issues for Land Acquisition and Mineral Development, taught by John C. Lacy, Director of the Global Mining Law Center and Professor of Practice.  This course provides an in-depth review of the transactional side of the mining business and will be presented through a series of lectures and interviews. This course examines issues related to land acquisition for mineral development beginning with due diligence, exploration and development contracts, royalties, smelter contracts, areas of interest, confidentiality and intellectual property and concludes with public relations and social media concerns.

Law 640 (3 units) International and Comparative Mining Law, taught by John C. Lacy, Director of the Global Mining Law Center and Professor of Practice.  This course begins with an examination of the historical world-wide evolution of mining laws and then turns to a review of the various laws of the United States regarding acquisition of mineral development rights. The course then reviews financing mechanisms and international conventions related to mineral development and a number of substantive mining laws of selected countries.  The course finally touches on issues for future consideration including the law of the sea and space mining.

Law 696I (2-3 units) International Environmental Law for Mineral Development, taught James Hopkins, Associate Clinical Professor, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy. The three-unit option is available upon submission of a substantial paper.  

MNE 697B (1 unit) Modern Corporate organizations in the Minerals Industry / Corporate Organization and Ethics, taught by Tim Snider, Professor of Practice.  Professor Snider, the retired president of Phelps Dodge Corporation, provides the benefit of his long experience at the helm of a major mining company working managing mineral exploration, development and mining operations throughout the world to review issues related to the responsibilities of board members and applying the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other laws.

MNE 697P (1 unit plus 1 unit independent study) Natural Resource Development and Community Expectations / Community Expectations for Mineral Development and Social Sustainability, taught by Luke Danielson, Professor of Practice.  Professor Danielson is the President and Co-Founder of Sustainable Development Strategies Group, which assists developing countries in mineral policy issues.

LAW 698Q (2 units), Managing Public Lands under NEPA, coordinated by John C. Lacy with presentations from experienced compliance professionals.  This course takes a detailed look at the process of compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.

LAW 640? (1 unit), Legal Overview for Public Land Users, taught by John C. Lacy with guest interviews discussing law and policy issues confronting public land users including grazing rights, forest resources, recreation, fishing rights, cultural and other considerations. This course is a supplement to the United States Public Land and Mining Law course taught by Professor Lacy and the Public Land and Mining Law Course is a pre-requisite to this course.

Law/MNE XXX (2 units) International Mining Health and Safety Law and Practice, taught by Mary Poulton, Professor Emerita.  This course reviews the breadth of law and other regulatory, enforcement and compliance standards applied to mining operations.  The course is broken into two separate components, one related to health and another to safety.

Programming Notes

*Required courses (in some cases, alternative courses within or outside the program may be substituted)
* JD students interested in taking online courses should contact the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Mike Brooks at brooks@email.arizona.edu.
 
For additional program information, please contact Ginger Hunt, Director of Online Learning, at gingershunt@email.arizona.edu
 
Although not all courses are offered every semester, a list of possible electives can be found on the course schedules pages.
 
Updated: 12/13/2017