The current draft of the amendments of the Law on Mining and Geological Explorations (the Draft Law) has raised dust with the changes in the manner for awarding exploitation rights for strategic mineral resources.
The published version of the Draft Law foresees that in the future, the exploitation of strategic mineral resources, such as coal, copper, gold, lithium and others, would be awarded through the Public-Private Partnership (the PPP). Practically speaking, the holder of the exploration rights with the certified reserves would not have a guarantee that it would be able to progress to exploitation.
The announced change led to many objections among holders of exploration rights that have been pouring tens or even hundreds of millions in explorations in the past. This does make a case, considering that the PPP concept as included in the Draft Law would seriously narrow their acquired rights.
While this PPP model was a centerpiece of discussion among the stakeholders, in the beginning, the story got its plot twist. The Ministry of Mining and Energy announced at a public presentation of the Draft Law that the PPP model would only apply in two cases: 1) when the state itself conducted the geological explorations; and 2) when the exploration company did not initiate exploitation within the prescribed deadlines and did not use the confirmed resources.
Taking a load off many stakeholders’ minds, this announcement of the Ministry of Mining and Energy got very positive feedback. Hopefully, the concept will be implemented in the final version of the Draft Law that will be sent for approval.