Apply for a permit to exploit mine gas exclusively


Are you a non-profit organisation or a company wanting to exploit mine gas in order to convert it into electricity, for example?

In Wallonia, it is the SPW Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment (SPW ARNE) which is the competent body to grant a permit to exploit this resource on an exclusive basis over a long period of time (for example 20 years).

A beneficial operation for the environment

Mine gas or firedamp is one of the exploitable combustible gases in Wallonia. It can be found in our old coal mines. Its exploitation is beneficial for the environment because this gas could escape into the atmosphere. Our subsoil is in fact not impermeable.

An environmental permit is required

An exclusive mine gas permit does not exempt you from obtaining one or more environmental permits, for example, for the installation of capture zones or for the conversion of gas into electricity.

The exclusive permit, which covers several environmental permits, provides consistency and cross-cutting effects between the various sites operated.

Two types of exclusive permits can be granted:

  • the exploration permit: it does not give the right to exploit and it only gives the right to carry out research
  • the exploitation permit: it gives the authorisation to exploit and thus entails the right to explore and carry out research


Are you interested in this exploitation?

The procedure for granting an exclusive licence is triggered by a call for competition published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This call for competition is launched:

  • if you register your interest in developing mine gas with our services
  • or if we believe it is necessary to develop an area where mine gas is accumulating

At present, we favour the re-exploitation of old mining works. The planned operations do not involve new drilling in the existing coal beds.

Please find below all the conditions to be fulfilled and the steps to follow in order to apply for the exploitation of mine gas in Wallonia.


In detail

Target audience – details

Companies and the non-profit sector with the technical and financial capacity to exploit mine gas in Wallonia


The conditions are detailed in the competition specifications.

In order to apply, you must, among other things:

  • demonstrate your technical and financial capabilities
  • have an administrative residence in Belgium/Wallonia


The permit will be withdrawn if the conditions governing it have not been respected.


The exclusive licence has an advantage for the operator. It gives him the exclusive right to exploit this resource.


The procedure provides for 10 months between the call for competition and the notification of the granting of the permit.


  1. Launch of the call for competition: a notice will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. You will find there the scope of operation, the conditions, the obligations and the responsibilities
  2. Submission of the application: you will have 3 months to submit your application, which must contain the documents required in the notice (more information on the documents to be provided below)
  3. Sending the file by registered letter to the Minister of the Environment (please consult the notice for all the details)
  4. Review of the file and request for additional information if necessary
  5. A public inquiry launched within 30 days
  6. A consultation of advisory bodies by our services
  7. Sending a report to the Walloon government
  8. Analysis and decision of the Walloon government based upon the selection criteria below
  9. Notification of the decision

The application can be made in French and German. It does not involve any fees. However, bank guarantees may be required.


The application will state:

  • the name, surname, position and residence of the applicant
  • a copy of the Articles of Association as well as the documents attesting to the powers of the signatories for the application if it is a company

these documents allow you to justify your technical and financial capacities:

  • 5 copies of the regular surface plan showing the boundaries of the area within which you propose to search or operate. This plan, drawn up on a scale of 1:10,000, will indicate the boundaries of the neighbouring areas for which an exploration or exploitation permit has already been granted, as well as the mining concessions existing, in whole or in part, within the territory covered by the application. The contour of the area shown on the plan of the sector will be described precisely from one part to the next
  • the titles, diplomas and professional references of the company's executives in charge of conducting and monitoring the exploration or exploitation work
  • a list of any exploration or development of mine gas in which your company has been involved in the last three years. It will also include a summary description of the most important works
  • a description of the human and technical resources envisaged for the execution of the work
  • the last three balance sheets and accounts of the company
  • the company's off-balance sheet commitments, guarantees and sureties granted by the company, a presentation of any pending litigation and the financial risks which may result for the company
  • the guarantees and sureties from which your company benefits

Applicants of foreign nationality are required to designate a residential address in Belgium.


The Walloon government will make its decision based upon the following objective and non-discriminatory criteria:

  • the technical and financial capabilities
  • the operating schedule, that means the manner in which the applicant intends to prospect, explore or exploit the geographical area in question

If multiple applications are of equal merit, the following criteria will be evaluated:

  • the quality of the preliminary studies carried out for the definition of the work schedule
  • the effectiveness and competence demonstrated by the applicants in connection with any other permits, particularly with respect to environmental protection
  • the possible proximity of an area already explored or exploited by the applicants
  • the positive repercussions envisaged for the development of the Walloon Region and the technological activities on its territory



An appeal is possible before the Supreme Administrative Court of Belgium.



Please contact the Directorate responsible for industrial, geological and mining risks
Updated on
Process n° : 145853
Did you find this page useful?
Back to processes