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12 March 2024, 11:48

Lukashenko urges uniform minerals development control policy

MINSK, 12 March (BelTA) – We need an uniform minerals development control policy, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss the state and prospects of the mining industry and geological exploration works on 12 March, BelTA has learned.

According to the president , the government reported on the successful completion of the state program "Environmental Protection and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources" for 2016-2020. The next one is currently in the works. 

"At the same time, there is still no uniform control over minerals development. Today, many agencies have the right to use subsoil. But everyone looks after their own interests," the head of state said and urged to take measures to change the situation. 

“For example, road builders need sand (which is extracted from a quarry), builders are interested in crushed stone, power engineers - peat. But if the next layer to, for example, peat is basalt, then who makes a decision to extract it or not,” the president asked. "Where is the supervising role of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection? I know that you were given this task more than a year ago. What has changed since then?" Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Mining is carried out throughout the country. "The regulatory authorities report on violations in the operation and reclamation of quarries," the head of state noted. “According to them, the reasons are the lack of interaction between subsoil users and local authorities. They are mired in bureaucracy, endless approvals, examinations. This affects business activity. I have specifically invited all governors to the meeting to make sure everyone understands how to move forward."

In this regard, the president cited a number of figures on regarding the use of the production capacities for certain minerals in 2018-2023 provided to by the government. The production capacities for glass and molding sands have been utilized at 39%, refractory clays - 47%, chalk, marl, clay and tripoli for cement - 53%, dolomite - 38%, facing stone - 44%. "There should be 100% for almost every position. We're half-working!” the president remarked. "Despite the availability of sufficient raw materials in the country, over the past year we imported almost 300,000 tonnes of pebble stones, gravel, crushed stone. More than $18 million was spent, 50,000 tonnes of natural sands were purchased for almost $5 million. These are huge numbers!”

"Minerals prices grow from year to year. Instead of taking measures and making use of what is literally under our feet, we give away our money," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. 
As for other minerals development, the picture, according to the head of state, is not as optimistic as for potash and oil. 
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