Kazakhstan plans to improve conditions for subsoil use investors. The Mazhilis introduced a new Code on subsoil use and its amendments. According to the Ministry of Investment and Development, the changes will align the domestic legislation with the world’s best practices. This will help attract international investment in geological exploration. In addition, the new draft law introduces a completely new type of subsoil use, prospecting. The draft law also takes into account the international experience which implies application of simplified licenses for such developers.

TIMUR TOKTABAYEV, VICE MINISTER ON INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT:

- Prospecting is allowed in relation to precious metals as well as precious and semiprecious stones. Licenses will be issued by the mayor’s office based on the ‘first come, first served’ principle on the territory defined by the Geology Committee. The license lasts for three years. Obligatory requirement is the presence of proper equipment for mechanization. Restrictions concern the depth and the territory: digging deeper than three meters and extension more than five hectares is not allowed.

In addition, the draft Code assumes a transition to calculating mineral reserves based on international standards. The law proposes to introduce an Australian granting model, the right to develop based on the first application principle. Moreover, the document will introduce mandatory reporting for subsoil users.

GALINA BAIMAKHANOVA, SECRETARY, MAZHILIS COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND NATURE MANAGEMENT:

- An investor can foresee some of the things at an early stage after the introduction of these international reporting standards for mineral exploration and estimation of mineral reserves. Most importantly, we have access to international exchanges, so we can trade there not only in mineral raw materials, but also we can attract investors. Our Kazakh stock exchange will expand.

According to members of parliament, the new code will help replenish the mineral resource base and significantly improve the investment climate in subsoil use. This will positively impact the country's economic development.

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