The search for economically meaningful natural resources like for example hydrocarbon, coal, lignite, potash and rock salt and their mining are subjected to the regulations of the Federal Mining Law in Germany. A differentiation is made between "freely mineable” resources and "freehold” resources. Freehold resources are the possession of the landowner, whereas freely mineable resources however do not form part of a freehold.
Mining authorizations also known as concessions or licences are the prerequisite for carrying out mining activities on certain mineable resources named by the Federal Mining Law. Through granting new mining authorizations and the administrating of existing mining authorizations it can be regulated and controlled as to which holders in which area are allowed to investigate and mine freely mineable resources.
Applications for granting mining authorizations have to be made in writing. The respective Ministries of the States have enacted comparable directives. The spatial jurisdiction of the LBEG extends to the States of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein as well as the German continental shelf of the North Sea and a part of the German continental shelf of the Baltic Sea.
Legally binding information from the mining authorizations book and the mining authorizations map (§ 75 of the Mining Law) can be obtained from the section 2.7 – faculty mine surveying.