Draft amendment to the Geological and Mining Law – strategic deposits

prawo geologiczne i górnicze

On May 5, a government bill amending the Geological and Mining Law and some other laws was submitted to the Sejm. This document, more than seventy pages long, provides for significant changes to the provisions of the law of June 9, 2011. Geological and Mining Law (Journal of Laws 2023, item 633). The explanatory memorandum to the amendment law indicates that the need for the changes follows a legal gap in the protection of mineral deposits, which was pointed out by the Supreme Audit Institution (NIK) in a report drawn up in connection with an audit conducted in 2017. At the Ministry of Environment.

A fundamental change is the introduction of a definition of a strategic deposit into the regulations. The draft defines it as a mineral deposit that is subject to special legal protection because of its importance to the economy or national security. The intention of the amendment is that the deposit, either in whole or in part considered strategic, will be given greater protection. Other laws are also being amended. Reading the document, we see significant changes in the Environmental Protection Law, the Water Law, and spatial planning. The proposed amendment directly affects 10 other laws and indirectly (by reorganizing the provisions) another 16.

Amendment of the Geological and Mining Law a pretext for changes in other laws

In the Law on Environmental Protection, the draft amendment provides for the modification of regulations in the field of deposit protection. It introduces provisions that put the protection of mineral deposits on a par with the principles of sustainable development and environmental protection. The proposals expand provisions related to environmental protection in land development and in the implementation of planned investments.

The Water Law has been amended to link the unit fee for groundwater and surface water abstraction to available groundwater resources and SNQ, respectively. The dependence of the rate on available groundwater resources and multi-year average low flow (contained in Articles 270(6) and 271(2) and (3) of the Water Law) has been removed.

In addition, in Art. 274(1) has already permanently adopted a single rate of fees for groundwater and surface water abstraction, without differentiating the rates in question from available groundwater resources or SNQ. Until now, there has been a transitional provision in this regard every year. It should be noted that the amending provisions were introduced in passing, as it were, and in this case are not related to the amendment of the Geological and Mining Law.

Reform of PIG-PIB – the National Geological Survey and the National Hydrogeological Survey

To date, the services (geological and hydrogeological) are performed by a single entity National Geological Institute – National Research Institute PIG-PIB. The draft amendment to the Geological Law introduces the unification of the service and its replacement by a single institution. As a reason for the reform, the legislator cites the problem of financing and accounting for the implementation of tasks, within various government departments. This is because PIG-PIB is assigned to two ministries: environment and water management.

According to the lawmaker, this does not promote efficiency and optimization of services. There is no justification for the operation of a separate hydrogeological service when, in scientific and practical terms, it is part of geology. Thus, it was indicated to include the tasks of the State Hydrogeological Service in the functions of the State Geological Survey and assign them as matters of the government administration department – environment.

You can read more on the government’s website – the bill to amend the Geological and Mining Law – parliamentary print No. 3238.

On May 16, the bill to amend the Geological and Mining Law went to first reading in the Committee on Energy, Climate and State Assets and the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Forestry.

Źródło: https://www.sejm.gov.pl/Sejm9.nsf/PrzebiegProc.xsp?id=6F3583DBB9C949A0C12589B100437042 (dostęp: 28.05.2023)

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