Simpler procedures in the field of energy and mining
Having in mind the importance of the energy and mining sector for the stable functioning of the economy and raising the quality of life of citizens, the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia (“Ministry“) published on January 16th, 2021 on its official website the starting point for drafting the Law on Amendments to the Law on Energy and the Law on Amendments to the Law on Mining and Geological Research.
Law on Mining and Geological Research
The Law on Mining and Geological Research (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 101/2015 and 95/2018 – second law, the Law) is currently in force, which regulates the following areas:
- Conditions and manner of conducting geological research of mineral and other geological resources;
- Conditions and manner of research of the geological environment;
- Geological research for spatial and urban planning, design, construction of facilities and rehabilitation and reclamation of the terrain;
- Exploitation of reserves of mineral raw materials and other geological resources;
- Construction, use and maintenance of mining facilities, plants, machines and devices;
- Execution of mining works;
- Mining waste management;
- Procedures for rehabilitation and reclamation of abandoned mining facilities.
The novelties that the amended Law should bring:
- in order to simplify the application procedure, it is envisaged that the party submits a photocopy of the approval or information on the approval issued by the Ministry;
- as a condition for issuing approvals for applied geological research, the obligation to submit a means of security is prescribed;
- the obligation of the competent authority for urban affairs at the level of local self-government to provide information on the harmonization of research in relation to the spatial or urban plan or other restrictions is envisaged;
- the procedure for issuing a permit for applied geological research is changed in the sense that the permit is issued to the applicant who first submits the application with all the accompanying documentation;
- in order to further simplify the issuance of permits, it is envisaged that carbonate raw materials, tuff, zeolitized tuff and peat, used in industry, are classified as non-metallic mineral raw materials for the production of construction materials;
- in order to preserve the environment, it is envisaged that in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the holder of the permit for mining works, which has not rehabilitated and recultivated degraded land, the costs of rehabilitation shall be covered from the bankruptcy or liquidation estate;
- for the exploitation of strategic mineral raw materials, the Government of Serbia will in the future conduct the procedure in accordance with the Law on Public Private Partnerships and Concessions.
Mining and geological research represent one of the most important sectors of the economy of the Republic of Serbia.
The main goal of the amendments to the Law on Mining and Geological Research is to develop this area, and for the state to have higher revenues from that, and to attract quality investments in mining.
In that way, the mineral wealth of Serbia is taken into account, it is possible for all procedures to be transparent and efficient and to prevent any kind of abuse.
Efforts are being made to make the procedure for issuing approvals in the field of geological research and mining more transparent, faster and more efficient, as well as to lay the foundations for full harmonization with the regulations of the European Union.
The current Energy Law (“Official Gazette of RS”, no. 145/2014 and 95/2018, “Law“) was passed in 2014.
The law regulates the following issues:
- conditions for reliable, safe and quality delivery of energy and energy products;
- conditions for secure supply of customers, protection of energy and energy customers;
- conditions and manner of performing energy activities;
- conditions for construction of new energy facilities, status and scope of work of the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia;
- use of renewable energy sources;
- incentive measures and guarantees of origin, the manner of organization and functioning of the electricity, natural gas and oil and oil derivatives markets;
- rights and obligations of market participants;
- establishing ownership on the networks of system operators;
- supervision over the implementation of this Law.
The basic principles for regulating social relations have been published, as well as the rights and obligations of entities related to the following areas:
- Energy policy,
- Strategic energy projects,
- Network rules,
- Integrated national energy and climate plan,
- Integrity and transparency of the wholesale energy market,
- Merging the organized electricity market with neighboring markets,
- Heat energy.
After the latest changes, the following effects are expected to be achieved:
- harmonization with the regulations of the European Union;
- creating conditions for ensuring a secure supply of energy and energy to the market of the Republic of Serbia;
- elimination of shortcomings in the application of the current Energy Law;
- increasing the level of transparency, protection of competition and non-discriminatory behavior;
- protection of all categories of customers, especially energy-vulnerable customers;
- prohibition of mutual subsidies of energy entities;
- creating conditions for the efficient functioning of the electricity and natural gas markets;
- creating conditions for the efficient functioning of the organized electricity market, connecting the day-ahead market and connecting the intraday market at the regional and EU level;
- creating conditions for the integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity system;
- decarbonisation in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and energy from renewable sources;
harmonization of the status and role of the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia in accordance with the best European practice.