On 15th June 2021, a panel discussion on the recent Mining Law Amendments was organised by NSTLAW in cooperation with CANSEEthe Canadian-Serbian Business Association at the Hilton Hotel.
Attendees were addressed by H.E. Mr. Giles Norman, Ambassador of Canada, who emphasised that Serbia has become one of the most interesting mining markets in Europe, and the Mining Law Amendments presented a positive step forward.
Nenad Stanković, Founder and Managing Partner of Stanković and Partners (NTSLAW), moderated the discussion with participants H.E. Mr. Giles Norman – Ambassador of Canada, Ms. Mirjana Doncic–Beaton, CANSEE Canadian-Serbian Business Association, Ms. Dragana Jelisavac Erdeljan, Ministry of Mining and Energy, Mr. Nenad Rakić, Balkan Gold, Mr. Dušan Simić, Jantar Group, and Mr. Marijanti Babić, Rio Sava Exploration. Along with the Ministry of Mining and the panelists, representatives of Rio Tinto, Zijin Mining, Dundee Precious Metals, Balkan Gold, Adria Minerals, Mundoro Capital and others took an active part in the discussion.
The Government of the Republic of Serbia outlined the main amendments and new investment opportunities in the sector. Dragana Jelisavac Erdeljan stated that she expected the amendments to result in the modernisation of the mining sector, and that the aim of the Law was to remove inadequacies observed in practice duringimplementationofthepreviouslegislation.
When asked about the new possibility for investors and the Republic of Serbia to conclude investment agreements, Marijanti Babić said that such an opportunity had also existed before, albeit in a different format, and that investment agreements have been available for many years in Australia, Portugal, Romania and Greece. Such agreements will be regulated in more detail through additional bylaws that will be passed in due course. Babić also noted that the novelty in terms of bank and corporate guarantees was important and was favourable and stimulating for investors.
The newly introduced amendments envisage the introduction of E-mining. As explained by Dragana Jelisavac Erdeljan, this new feature will simplify procedures and overall efficiency.
Simić stated that the amendments to the Law that introduced classification of (solid) mineral resources and the classification of reserves of mineral resources based on the Pan European Reserves and Resources Reporting Committee (PERC) Code were international standards that would reduce costs for stakeholders and more efficient research activities.
Nenad Rakić noted that the amendment to the Law that referred to authorisations of the inspections regarding professional supervision was a significant change. The new Law stipulates that the professional supervision cannot be done by a legal entity that is also the researching entity.
The panel concluded that the amendments to the Law on Mining and Geological Research provide opportunities for improvement in that sector, but that there were certain ambiguities and that there were expectations with respect to responsible development given the controversy over this topic.
We would like to express our gratitude to the Embassy of Canada and Ambassador Norman for their support in this panel and look forward to working together to secure the most optimal framework in this dynamic sector.
Further thanks to all the panelists, our guests and our long-term partner CANSEE – Canadian – Serbian Business Association for their active participation and contribution to the organisation of this panel discussion.