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Vietnam’s 2010 Minerals Law: Legal corridor to develop sustainable mining

(11:25:21 AM, 22/09/2017)

Mineral management has become manageable

Since the 2010 Minerals Law came into effect on 1/7/2011, the mining activity has become manageable and at the same time, opened a new direction for professional businesses willing to participate in this industry. In particular,a complete system of legal norms has been established, creating a legal corridor for the formation and development of a sustainable mining industry.

* Create a momentum for transparentingthe mining industry

The 2010 Minerals Law including 11 chapters, 86 articles (48 articles having new content) came into effect from 1/7/2011 and replaced the Mineral Law 1996 and the revised and supplemented Mineral Law 2005.

Compared with the previous versions, the Minerals Law 2010 not only regulates more detail the State management responsibilities among levels and sectors, but also has a separate chapter for protecting of unexploited minerals,eliminating the "ask-give" mechanism when granting mining rights; define clearlyresponsibilities of organizations and individuals exploiting minerals in the exploited localities; amend and supplement regulations on mineral activities, licenses for mineral activities, decentralization of licensing, regulations on mineral areas and strategy for mineral planning.

These new features have created a premise for the authorities to formulate a complete system of legal documents on mineral resources and make more transparent mining operations. From there, mining activities can be adjusted such asmaking strategy and mineral planning; protection of unexploited minerals; basic geological survey of minerals for auction activities;collecting licensing fee in mineral mining.

According to MONRE, as soon as issuance of the Mineral Law 2010, MONRE and relevant ministries, branches and localities have focused on developing and promulgating legal documents for guiding the implementation of the Law. So far, many legal documents have been compiled, including six Decrees issued by the Government, 3 Decisions issued by the Prime Minister; more than 30 circulars and regulations on technical norms, geological work, and classification of natural resources issued by MONRE. These documents create a legal basis to implement the strategies and policiesof the Party and Government in mineral management and mining.

On that basis, MONRE has directed the comprehensive implementation of projects and tasks of basic geological survey on minerals with a total cost of nearly 1,500 billion VND; 24 projects of geological mapping and mineral evaluationhave been completed, including 2 government projects, 5 geological mapping projects (1:50,000 scale), 2 geophysical mapping and 17 proposals for evaluating mineral potential.

*Mining activities have become manageable

In order to make the law going into life, MONRE has coordinated with the provincial People's Committee to implement the project "Propagandizing and raisingpublic awareness on the regulations of environmental resources". The projectorganized seminars and training courses in over 30 provinces and cities in different regions nationwide, including: central highlands, south west provinces, etc. Therefore, the management of minerals in localities has observedits significant innovations.

Up to now, the auction of mining rights has also initially achieved positive results. According to an incomplete reports, by the end of 2016, 33 out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide have drawn and approved their mining rightsauction planfor 355 mineral areas.Many localities successin this work such as Hai Duong, Quang Binh, Kon Tum, Thai Nguyen, Nam Dinh, Hanoi, Gia Lai, Bac Giang, Quang Nam, Cao Bang, Lao Cai and Ninh Thuan. , Binh Thuan, Dong Nai, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Yen Bai, and Thanh Hoa.

The charging of licensing the mining rights has obtained considerable results. The defining fee for surveying minerals to pay back to the Government is basically completed. According to the report, by the end of April 2017, the Vietnam State Treasury collected 12,795 billion VND with an average of 4,000-5,000 billion VND collected from licensing the mining rights every year. At the same time, refunding for the State budget in the investigation and exploration of minerals also achieved about 2,000 billionVND, contributing to creating an equality and fair competition among organizations and individuals willing to participate in mineral exploitation;increasingthe budget’s revenues and reinvesting resources for basic geological survey of minerals.

For the basic mineral survey, a set of maps over the country has been completed, including: a geological map with scales of 1:1,000,000 and 1:500,000; a geological and mineral map with scale 1:200,000; a geological and mineral map with scale 1: 50,000covers over 70% of the land area. Besides, many important and strategic minerals have been surveyed, such as bauxite, laterite iron, and titanium.

In particular, mining operations have become manageable. Previously, these activities were spontaneous, unplanned, carried out without permission of competent authorities. So far most of mineral exploration activities have been carried out under permission of competent agencies and in accordance with to strategies, planning and plans of the Government. The right for participating in mineral exploration and mining has been expanded.In the 90s, the mines were mainly managed and operated by State Owned Enterprises. Up to now, there are nearly 3,000 organizations and individuals of all economic sectors involved in this activities.

Pham Ha