The Ministry of Economy has recently opened a public debate on the draft mining law (the “Draft Law”), which if passed, will replace existing Mining Law no 85/2003. The Draft Law aims to establish a flexible legal framework for the exploitation of mineral resources.

In furtherance of transparency, the Draft Law provides citizens access to relevant information and gives them a say in the granting of licenses for the prospecting and exploitation of natural resources. It also protects citizens from expropriation of their property and exploitation practices that are harmful to their health and the environment.

The reopening of mining, in cases where the government has already issued decisions on conservation, closure, greening and post-closure monitoring will be regulated and will limit the Romanian state’s expenditures for greening. The Draft Law obliges the license holders to be directly involved in environmental protection and in restoring large land areas affected by mining conditions.

Other notable changes include:

  • Requiring pre-archaeological research of certain lands;
  • Regulation of mining activities near waterways;
  • Regulation on mining in the Black Sea and on the Black Sea continental shelf in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;
  • Waste management regulations;
  • Obligations on title holders to use BATs;
  • Strict compliance with the legal limits on hazardous waste and emissions to limit the risk of accidents which could impact the natural and anthropic ecosystems;
  • Requiring the title holder to cover the costs of any environmental accidents;
  • Details on the ways of acquiring right to use the lands where mining activities are required, including by way of expropriation.