Minister of Energy of Serbia, Zorana Mihajlović, said that the main goal of the amendments to the Law on Mining and Geological Research is to develop this area, provide the state with more revenue and attract quality investments in the mining sector.
She underlined that the amendments to the Law on Mining and Geological Research take into account the mineral wealth of Serbia, allow all procedures to be transparent and efficient and prevent any kind of abuse.
“We want to create conditions for the development of mines and thus introduce e-rudarstvo (e-mining), so that we can have more efficient and simpler procedures. But we do not want anyone to be privileged if they want to explore and then exploit ore, and that is why we will propose to shorten the duration of exploration rights from the current period of eight or nine years,” said Mihajlović during her guest appearance on the Happy TV.
The Minister also said that, although there are taxes (paid per square metre) in place, that are paid to the Ministry, the state still generates modest revenue from giving exploration rights.
“It’s fine for investors to come and do research, but the state needs to benefit from all this and have much higher revenues,” Mihajlović said.
She went on to say that one of the main changes (to the relevant law) refers to the fact that, in the future, the government will conduct a procedure for the exploitation of strategic mineral raw materials in accordance with the Law on Public-Private Partnerships and Concessions, which will take Serbia’s mineral wealth more into account.
“Mining represents a great development potential for Serbia. The value of confirmed reserves of mineral raw materials that Serbia has is close to 200 billion dollars. The state’s task is to create the conditions for the development of mining, but what we are looking for is for the state and citizens to benefit from it, through having a healthy environment, higher incomes, employment and quality investments,” Mihajlović said.
“Srbijagas is an unregulated company and the state wants an organized and profitable gas sector”
Zorana Mihajlović also said that Srbijagas (Serbian main natural gas provider) is an unregulated company with large debts and that the Ministry’s goal is to regulate the gas sector and bring much higher profits to the state.
Mihajlović underlined that Srbijagas is a completely unregulated company, which in addition to having more than one billion euro of debt, requires additional loans. In the last year and a half, Srbijagas was granted over 300 million euro worth of bank loans just to cover current liquidity issues, not make investments.
“Although Srbijagas doesn’t function well today, its CEO has a monthly income of over 34,000 euro which he gets on the account of being a member of the company’s bodies such as supervisory board and various assemblies. This has nothing to do with the alleged personal conflict but with the future of the gas economy in Serbia,” Mihajlović concluded.
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