The State Duma Committee on the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic approves a draft law on artisan gold production
The State Duma Committee on the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic unanimously voted to support several draft laws on artisan gold production, laying the legal and organizational foundation for gold production by self-employed businesspeople and other artisanal activities.
According to Chair of the Committee on the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Nikolai Kharitonov, currently there are no laws regulating relations in gold production by private individuals. This is a gap in the law that must be removed to preclude private gold production and black market gold trade.
“Introducing legal regulation in this area is of particular importance for Russia’s Far Eastern and Arctic regions. This will make it possible to enhance the accessibility and appeal of artisanal activity and will help reduce illegal gold production and trade. It is no wonder that this legislative initiative has caused fierce debate among those involved in gold production,” he noted.
Kharitonov said the draft law includes two keys principle for artisanal activity.
“A list of territories open to artisanal activity cannot be made unless it is proposed by the supreme executive body of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation. This means that a region will suggest a site based on its material, organizational and financial capabilities. In addition, the draft law defines constraints on an artisan’s use of certain means and methods of work and establishes a duty to maintain his or her mining claim. Likewise, the executive body in a constituent entity of the Russian Federation will be invested with supervisory powers with regard to artisanal activity. Thus, the draft law is designed to ensure a balance of private and public interests,” he said.
In conclusion, he called on those at the meeting to keep in mind that “a number of the draft law’s provisions need additional fine-tuning for the second reading; today, however, we should decide conceptually whether or not this proposed artisanal experiment has the legal right to exist.”
The meeting was also addressed by representatives of the Far Eastern regions, via videoconference, including the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Khabarovsk Territory, and the Magadan Region, who generally supported the need to approve a law on the artisanal activities.
Following a lively discussion, Deputy Chair of the Committee on the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Valentina Pivnenko suggested that the committee members establish a working group with representatives of the State Duma’s related committees and officials from federal executive agencies to consider the proposed amendments for the second reading. The participants in the meeting approved her proposal.