This act outlines the rules applicable to the exploration and extraction of minerals (including hydrocarbons) and the development of mining-related activities. It establishes that minerals are the property of the state and can only be explored, produced, or stored with a licence.
Applications for exploration, production, or storage licences must be filed with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA). Operators needed an exploration licence to undertake drilling. If the field proves to be sufficiently productive, the exploration licence can be converted into a production licence. Applications for a production licence must include the expected amount of minerals produced, activity duration, annual quantity of minerals to be extracted, and any risks for residents and property (Article 35).
The MEA grants a licence based on an assessment of the technical and financial capabilities of the applicant, including aspects of safety and environmental performance (Article 9a). The MEA is responsible for follow-up activities, including monitoring, risk management, and reporting. Additional provisions apply for the permanent storage of CO2 (Article 31).
Operators must submit a risk management plan prior to installation. The plan must contain the company’s contingency plans for major accidents; its policy regarding the prevention of major accidents; a description of the safety and environmental management system; and audit information for independent verification. Operators of production facilities must review the risk management plan every five years and notify the competent authority.
The licence holder must take all reasonable measures to prevent major accidents and consequences to people and the environment (Article 33). Further, licence holders must maintain a risk management system, so that risks are kept within acceptable limits (Article 33a). The State Supervision of Mines (SSM), under the MEA, is responsible for verifying compliance, reviewing safety and environmental reports, and enforcement activities.
Mining companies active in onshore mining must contribute annually to the Mining Damage Guarantee Fund for property damage (Article 135).
Mining installations that are no longer used must be removed, including clearing scrap and other materials at or near installations. The removal obligation rests on the licence holder, or, if the licence is held by more than one company, on the operator.