The deputies of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia approved at today’s session an amendment to the Mining Act (ZRud-1) in accordance with which a concessionaire may be extended the validity of the mining right within the extraction site even if it does not meet the condition of the acquired right to perform mining work on all land plots that are the subject of the extension of the mining right.
“On many occasions in the past the Velenje Coal Mine noted certain ambiguities, i.e. the rigidity of the current legislation, which we faced mainly when extending the concession, so the mentioned change, i.e. amendment to the ZRud-1 is a step forward to meeting the condition for obtaining a concession for coal extraction after 2023 or until the end of extraction,” said Janez Rošer, the director general of the mine operator Premogovnik Velenje.
The amendment to the ZRud-1 enables, among other things, the extension of the existing mining rights for the extraction of mineral resources in the event that, for justified reasons, a concessionaire cannot meet the condition for the extension of the mining right referred to in point 4 of paragraph one of Article 50 of the ZRud-1, i.e. that it must obtain the right to perform mining work on the land plot for all land plots within the extraction site.
The new Article 150 of the ZRud-1 thus stipulates that the duration of validity of the mining right may be extended to a concessionaire even if it does not meet the condition of the acquired right to perform mining work on the land plot referred to in point 4 of paragraph one of Article 50 of the ZRud-1 for all land plots that are the subject of the extension of the mining right. These are special cases. In accordance with Article 50 of the current ZRud-1, a concessionaire would need to possess the consent of the landowners or have a relevant legal transaction concluded with the landowners for all land plots that are the subject of the extension of the mining right.
Paragraph two of Article 46 stipulates that the right to perform mining work on a land plot does not need to be acquired in the case of underground extraction, and it follows from the mining project that there will be no impact on the land surface, i.e. that there is no area of influence. The amendment adds to this condition the condition that mining works will be carried out deeper than 30 metres.
The amendment to the Act stipulates that, for cases where the extraction site can be divided into several fields that will be exploited in different periods of time, mining projects are gradually confirmed with annexes to the concession contracts for such completed units, whereas the right to perform mining work on a land plot needs to be obtained at least for such a unit and access land plots.
“The amendment to the ZRud-1 stipulates that such concessionaires conclude legal transactions with landowners only immediately before they start development work on their land plots, and not several years or decades prior, as in the case of the Velenje Coal Mine. The amendment certainly does not mean that, in the future, landowners will not participate in deciding what will happen with their land plots. Premogovnik Velenje has been successfully resolving the impact of underground extraction on the surface and, consequently, encroachment on the property right through compensation for damage caused by mining in accordance with the regulations governing obligations ever since it was established,” added Rošer.
On the basis of Article 11 of the Act Determining the Intervention Measures to Mitigate and Remedy the Consequences of the COVID-19 Epidemic, Premogovnik Velenje submitted on 9 August 2021 at the relevant ministry a proposal to conclude an annex to the Concession Contract No. 354-14-73/01, the subject of which is the extension of the mining right and the concession relationship until 21 July 2023. The annex was signed on 21 January 2022.