This article explores the Social License to Operate (SLO) in relation to seabed mining operations. The SLO has grown in importance over the years, and mining companies are increasingly aware of its importance to reduce social risks. However, the SLO should not be seen as a separate entity but is instead embedded into the Legal License to Operate (LLO) and Political License to Operate (PLO). Recognising this interaction, we developed a conceptual framework in which the fundamental process-related factors of the SLO (trust and legitimacy) and the different levels of the SLO (status) are connected to the context provided by the LLO and PLO. This article presents this conceptual framework and applies it to the case of marine diamond mining in Namibia. The framework was found to be useful for analysing the SLO of marine diamond mining in Namibia, particularly because the inclusion of the context increases understanding of how the manner of organising stakeholder engagement and the role of the government in the LLO and PLO have repercussions for the different process-related factors of the SLO and its resulting status. However, this article presents only a first step and calls for more comparative research to advance empirical and conceptual clarity of which context factors of the PLO and LLO interact in what way with the SLO process and status.