Thursday, August 09, 2012 -
Kyrgyz Economics Minister Temir Sariev remains resolute on pushing through critical legislation to reform regulation of the country’s mining sector, he said Thursday.
Kyrgyzstan has few natural resources, but its location on the Tien Shan gold belt means it can attract substantial investment and revenues from gold, silver, and copper mining. However, recent months have seen repeated tussles between foreign-earned firms and local populations protesting over jobs and environmental concerns.
“We have decided to carry out reform of the mining sector in two stages,” Sariev said at a government meeting to consider the second reading of the legislative package.
“The first phase includes the priority projects of the laws on subsoil, as well as changes and amendments to the Tax Code, Land Code, and the law on non-tax payments,” he said. “The second stage involves the bills ‘On Concessions,” “On the Mining Concession,” “On the production-sharing agreement,” and “On Amendments and Additions to the Tax Code.”
The first phase was passed by the legislature in late June, while the body is only considering the second stage now.
Sariev said new laws on concessions and production-sharing agreements are necessary as the old one “has lost its relevance” and does not “meet current market conditions.”
One critical feature of the new legislation is the amended role of the government, the minister pointed out.
State involvement in the mining sector has been reduced to a minimum, and guarantees for investors will be included in the new bills.
The legislation is trying to repair Kyrgyzstan’s sullied reputation as a place of safe investment, after a series of incidents against foreign-owned miners – including attacks, work stoppages, and the attempt by Kyrgyzstan’s parliament to revoke mining licenses with no due process – has left investors wary of future investment.