Subsoil use licensing contests to start in Kazakhstan in late 2013

March 7. Trend. Astana

By D. Mukhtarov

Subsoil use licensing contests to start in Kazakhstan in late 2013The first contests on issuing licenses for subsoil use after lifting the moratorium on solid minerals will take place in the end of the year, vice minister of industry and new technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nurlan Sauranbayev told Trend.

“The presidential moratorium was abolished in the beginning of this year, and according to the order of holding the contests, issuing licenses on development of the fields of solid minerals even at accelerated rates will take part only after 8 – 9 months, in the end of the year”, Sauranbayev said.

He clarified that ministry experts should select the investment-attractive fields and collect all needed geological information. All these require quite a lot of time.

“If previously, mineral deposits were mainly traditionally exploited in East Kazakhstan and Karagandy provinces, now we are speaking about developing fields in North Kazakhstan, Kostanay and Almaty provinces,” the vice minister noted.

According to him, the exploration of gold, coal and rare-earth metals remains most attractive for investors.

The moratorium on issuing licenses on subsoil use was imposed in 2008 when the government started preparing new tax legislation. The new tax code providing the rejection of contract stability and tightening of extractive industry sector taxation came into effect in January 2009.

“The main aim of the moratorium was to bring in order subsoil use sector. All main fields were conveyed to subsoil users by 2008. Among them there were so called feedstock tourists who were reselling the rights to the fields at much higher prices without putting investing into their development themselves,” explained the minister.

In November 2012, President Nursultan Nazarbayev instructed the government to consider lifting the moratorium on extraction of some minerals in order to make the regions more attractive for investors.