10 July 2017
Pilot Programme Announced for Competitive Assignment of Mineral Rights
Mineral rights are to be assigned primarily through invited bids, auctions and quotations, rather than through any process of negotiation. This far-reaching change is outlined in the Plan for the Reform of the Mineral Rights Assignment System, as jointly issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council, which forms the basis for a pilot programme designed to establish a competitive system for the assignment of mineral rights. The proposed reforms will also look to prevent companies from failing to exploit exploration rights once secured, while the level of mining rights fees levied will also be adjusted, as will the statutory minimum standard level of exploration and surveying rights holders will be obliged to undertake.
As outlined in the Plan, power of approval will be delegated to a lower level wherever appropriate, while regulatory services will also be improved. The Ministry of Land and Resources will be responsible for approving exploration mining rights with regard to petroleum, hydrocarbon natural gas, shale gas, radioactive minerals, tungsten and rare earth. It will also have responsibility for approving mining rights for any coal reserves in excess of one billion tons, as well as with regard to 11 specific minerals, including coalbed methane, gold, iron, copper, aluminum, tin, antimony, molybdenum, phosphorus and potassium, in all cases where reserves are deemed to be of a large scale or above. Approval with regard to other mineral right, currently the responsibility of the Ministry of Land and Resources, will be transferred to the relevant provincial department of land and resources.
Under the terms of the Plan, the scheme will be piloted in Shanxi, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei, Guizhou and Xinjiang during the course of 2017. Based on the feedback from this extensive trial, the required documentation and protocols will be revised throughout 2018, prior to the national roll-out of the programme in 2019.
For further details (in Chinese), please refer to the following websites: