Controversial draft amendment to geological and mining law
Recently, information appeared in the press about the submission to the Sejm of a controversial draft amendment to the Geological and Mining Law of June 9, 2011 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 868, as amended). As pointed out in one of the interviews by the Deputy Minister of Energy Adam Gawęda of the abovementioned, the draft amendment assumes that „the Minister of the Environment will be able to establish special zones with strategic deposits of brown and hard coal. In the case of exploitation of these deposits, local governments will be able to express only opinions, but they will not be able to block the granting of a mining license by citing the provisions of the local spatial development plan.
The purpose of this project is to streamline and accelerate the concession process by preventing the issuing of a concession decision by social or local government protests. ” The final decision regarding the establishment of the strategic deposits catalogue belongs to the Minister of the Environment, however, mining companies are also to assist in creating them by indicating the recommended deposits. The draft introduces highly controversial solutions that are likely to meet with opposition from local governments, environmental organizations or the residents themselves, inter alia Silesia.
The proposed solution undoubtedly makes it easier for the entrepreneur to obtain the requested concession and ensures implementation by the principle of mineral deposit protection, but at the same time in the proposed shape it deprives the municipality (and thus its residents) of the possibility of co-decision in matters of mine location.