online master's degree mining law and policy

Mining Law and Policy Concentration - Online

Master of Legal Studies

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. The part-time track began in fall 2016. The full-time track will be available in fall 2017.

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.

 

Read our FAQ page for more details on this online degree.

 

COURSE LIST

Available online beginning fall 2017

Session 1: (Aug. 21, 2017 - Oc.11, 2017)

 
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.  
 
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 Matthew Bingham, Professor of Practice.  Professor Bingham, the Corporate Director – Legal of Resolution 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.
 
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.
 

Session 2: (Oct. 12, 2017 - Dec. 14, 2017)

 
Law 640G (1 unit) Introduction to the International Mining Industry, taught by Brad Ross, Assistant Director at the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources.  Professor Ross’s course provides an overview of the technical, financial, environmental, social, and policy.
 
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 (3 units).
 
Law 640H (2 units) Global Mining Tax Law, Policy and Disclosure/Sustainability, taught by Stephen F. Ralbovsky, Professor of Practice.  Professor Ralbovsky is a retired tax partner from PriceWaterhouse-Coopers where he was responsible for audits of many of the large mining companies throughout the world and specialized in global mining tax and royalty policy, tax and royalty disclosure and the “pay your fair share” aspect of sustainability.  The course looks at the full range of international tax law and policy (2 units).  Required prerequisites are Mine Valuation and Mine Financing.
 
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 turns to the exercise of these rights as well as financing mechanisms and international conventions related to mineral development and related impacts.
 
MNE 526 (1 unit) Health and Safety in Mining, taught by Timothy Fox, Professor of Practice Mining & Geological Engineering. This course is part of the mining and geological engineering program.   Fundamental concepts in the recognition, evaluation and control of health and safety hazards encountered in mining operations; includes a review of engineering management responsibilities to control accidents, a review of federal regulations and standards affecting the industrial workplace, and instruction regarding the interaction of industrial hygiene, safety, fire protection and workers’ compensation to control losses resulting from industrial accidents. Graduate-level requirements include a term paper.
 
 
Available online beginning Spring 2018
 

Session 1: (Jan. 10, 2018 - March 4, 2018)

 
Law 585 (2 units) Introduction to Legal Systems, taught by Matthew Bingham, Professor of Practice.  Professor Bingham, the Corporate Director – Legal of Resolution 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.
 
Law 640H (2 units) Global Mining Tax Law, Policy and Disclosure/Sustainability, taught by Stephen F. Ralbovsky, Professor of Practice.  Professor Ralbovsky is a retired tax partner from PriceWaterhouse-Coopers where he was responsible for audits of many of the large mining companies throughout the world and specialized in global mining tax and royalty policy, tax and royalty disclosure and the “pay your fair share” aspect of sustainability.  The course looks at the full range of international tax law and policy (2 units).  Required prerequisites are Mine Valuation and Mine Financing.
 
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 640B (3 units) Contractual and Related issues for Land Acquisition and Mineral Development, taught by John Lacy, Director of the Global Mining Law Center and Professor of Practice.
 
 

Session 2: (March 5, 2018 - May 10, 2018)

 
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 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 turns to the exercise of these rights as well as financing mechanisms and international conventions related to mineral development and related impacts.
 
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.  
 

Available online beginning Summer  2018
 

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

 
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.
 

Session 2: (July 2, 2018 - Aug. 17, 2018)

 
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. 

 
 

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
 
 
Updated: June 29, 2017