Operations that want to explore for, extract or process mineral resources under mining law may only be established, operated and discontinued on the basis of plans (operating plans). The operating plans must be drawn up by the operator and approved by the competent mining authority (cf. Section 51 (1) of the Federal Mining Act (BBergG)). The exhaustive list of mineral resources under mining law, for the exploration and extraction of which an operating plan is required, can be found in Section 3 of the Federal Mining Act (BBergG).
For the establishment and management of a mining operation, the entrepreneur requires a main operating plan, which is generally to be drawn up for a period not exceeding two years. An interruption of the operation for a period of up to two years is considered as management of the operation. A longer interruption is only permissible if it is approved by the competent authority.
In addition to the main operating plan, a distinction is made between the general operating plan, e.g. in the case of planning approval procedures under mining law, the special operating plan, e.g. in the case of independent, completed projects, and the final operating plan in the case of discontinuation of operations.
The competent authority may make approval dependent on the provision of a security, insofar as this is necessary to ensure fulfillment of the requirements specified in Section 55 (1) Sentence 1 Nos. 3 to 13 and (2) of the Federal Mining Act.