16 Jun 2009 16:23

Putin for centralizing mineral resource management

MOSCOW. June 16 (Interfax) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed setting up an integrated mineral reserves agency.

"I suggest forming a special working group to draft proposals on setting up a centralized, vertically integrated system of mineral resources management," Putin said at a meeting that addressed ways to improve the system for monitoring controlling reserves.

"We don't have a universal system - information is still being stored at various agencies, in various ways," he said.

"The Natural Resources Ministry, Energy Ministry, Rosnedra, Rostekhnadzor, Rosprirodnadzor, the Regions Ministry and several other agencies all have regulatory functions, and it's virtually impossible to obtain full, exhaustive information about mineral deposits and mineral developers in one place," Putin said.

He also said there was still too much red tape in the resources sector, despite numerous calls to remove this.

"We still have too many administrative barriers throughout the chain, from issuing exploration licenses to starting commercial development," Putin said.

"Orders to ease the bureaucracy have been issued on numerous occasions, but things are moving too slowly," he said.

"Mineral developers still have to wait years to process the necessary documents after decisions have been reached," he said.

"They have to spend years going round all these agencies, and that's the big developers. What do the small and medium ones have to go through?" he asked.

The hurdles that prevent "geological exploration from becoming a full-fledged business, capable of delivering a product to the market in the form of a mineral deposit that is ready to be exploited, with all the related technological information, permits and licenses" need to be removed," Putin said.