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Minister says tighter controls improved mining

Update: February, 25/2015 - 08:10
The Viet Nam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group's Sin Quyen Copper Mine Company put a new bronze mine in Bat Xat District in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai into exploitation. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat

HA NOI (VNS) — The nature of mining activities has changed from being extensive to intensive since the application of stricter regulations, enacted in 2014, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Nguyen Minh Quang.

Speaking to the government portal in an interview, Quang said that this was a highlight of the sector's performance in 2014.

Tighter controls over mining, introduced by the ministry last year, which compelled firms to pay for the grant of mining rights and to set up processing facilities, prevented players with financial and technological constraints from venturing into the business, he added.

Quang cited a report that before 2010, when the Mineral Law came into effect, an average of 800 businesses were granted mining licences by provincial authorities per year, but the number fell by half in 2014.

Additionally, the new rule has driven mining firms to invest more in exploration, production and processing technologies, he pointed out.

On the other hand, the imposition of a charge on businesses granted mining rights for the first time earned the State budget VND5 trillion (US$235 million) last year, when it was applied on 500 mines or so that were licensed before the Mineral Law became effective in 2010 and 100 mines that were newly licensed in 2014.

Another highlight of the sector's performance in 2014 was the advice it gave to the government on issuing regulations for guiding the enforcement of the 2013 Land Law, including provisions aimed to reform land-related administrative procedures, the minister said.

"As a result, the number of administrative procedures in the one-stop office for land registration has fallen from 41 to 30, and the number of land-related complaints in areas where the office has not been established yet, has dropped by nine from the previous 62.

"At the same time, the time spent on clearing administrative procedures has been cut considerably as numerous local authorities have started accepting applications online," he said.

While recognising that administrative procedure reform has made life easier for businesses, the minister admitted, "What concerns me most is that despite the reduction in the number of land-related complaints, their complicated nature remains unchanged, here and there." — VNS

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