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2021 year-end press conference

Press release
Prishtina – 29 December 2021

Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals is an independent institution which its responsibility is implementation of the Law on Mines and Minerals, Law on Safety at Work in Mining Activity and Mining Strategy 2012-2025 of the Republic of Kosovo and it reports to the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo. Except implementation of the mining legislation, the ICMM is committed as well to implement governmental policies related to mining sector, which are documents that create real opportunity for development of business, rational utilization of mining resources, safety and security at work and environmental protection.
Despite the efforts to develop mining sector, there are still challenges that shall be eliminated through inter-institutional cooperation, especially the elimination of legal collisions, the reduction of redundant procedures, the increase of transparency, accountability etc.
Taking into consideration the continuation of the critical situation by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo approved the Law on Economic Recovery – COVID-19, where the ICMM was included as well and which it had a very important role in recovery of doing business in the mining sector.
With implementation of the Law 07/L-016 on Economic Recovery – COVID-19, in mining sector and enterprises that have benefited from this law, all enterprises possessing Mining Licences for mining resources are exempted from paying royalty from January 1 to May 31.
Among the many meetings held in this institution, and meetings held with other institutions, where it is related the cooperation of the Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals, among them, as well this year, the ICMM has taken the initiative to hold meetings on joint inter-institutional inspections, for the possibility of conducting coordinated legal actions, in order to prevent illegal mining operations.
Inter-institutional and awareness-raising meetings at the level of sectors and regions were held from March 30 to April 15. Other institutional participants were of the municipal level – municipal inspectorate, central level (Ministries dealing with the environmental protection and KFA), Kosovo Police, Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK) and Kosovo Customs.
The Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals in cooperation with the University “Isa Boletini” in Mitrovica has held the International Multidisciplinary Geosciences Conference IMGC2021 on 14 October 2021, which it is an annual practice.
The ICMM has presented three scientific papers this year in this conference that treat mining legislation in the Republic of Kosovo, the role of informatics system in this sector and mining economy- case of the Republic of Kosovo.
A delegation of six members of Albania, conforming to the Memorandum of Understanding between National Agency of Natural Resources (NANR) and the Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals (ICMM) and as well within the cooperation and exchange of mutual experience between two institutions, was invited for an official visit from the Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals for a period of 14-17 December 2021 to visit poly-metals and coal mines in the Republic of Kosovo.

The ICMM, as the third institution in the country that collects the highest revenue to the budget of Kosovo, for many years, with near 30 million executed revenues, enabled it to be an important indicator to the economic development of the country. The visit held on 21 December 2021 in the ICMM by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Albin Kurti, and the Minister of the Economy of the Republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Artanë Rizvanolli, show the dedication and high priority of the Government of Kosovo for mining sector.
Regarding management, the ICMM actually manages 547 mining entities by which 69 are Exploration Licenses, 139 Mining Licenses and 285 Special Operations Permits.
Number of pending applications = 235
Mining = 43
Exploration = 131
Special Operations = 61

Number of application approved after the election of the new Board by the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo is 23

Mining = 2
Exploration = 20
Special Operations = 1

Field inspections
According to the nature of the inspections, the Inspectorate has carried out these field inspections during 2021:
• Requests for massive blasting in total 700
• Permits for massive blasting in total 543
• Total number of joint inspections according to operational plan in total 938
• Enterprises with order to cease mining activity in total 62
• Sequestrations of commissions with lignite in total 0
• Illegal operation reports for 2021 in total 62
• Regular annual inspections in total 30
• Administrative fines 71
• Fines for not reporting accidents 2
• Criminal charges 59
• Injuries at work 8 and 1 with fatality.
Verifications of enterprises with fences are 103 cases. There are 8 cases of excavation and 3 cases of special operations.
During 2021, the ICMM through Legal Department has forwarded 59 criminal charges to the Prosecution against illegal operators in the mining sector, 73 administrative fines.
From 73 administrative fines in total:
– 52 (fifty-two) fines are for illegal operations without licence
– 10 (ten) fines are for the lack of fences (violation of rights and obligations of licenses)
– 9 (nine) fines are as a result of illegal operations, they have infringe also the conditions of licenses where they have also criminal charges
– 2 (two) fines are not informing about the accidents in mines.
119 proposals for execution for illegal operations have been submitted to private enforcement agents whereas 60 appeals have been received during 2021 that are waiting to be reviewed by Board.
Revenues for 2021
Since the beginning of its work as an independent agency, the ICMM from year to year has made progress in increasing revenues from royalties, this as an indicator that shows the increase of investments in the mining sector. Hereupon, this year as a result of implementation of the Law on Economic Recovery – COVID-19, all enterprises possessing Mining Licences for mining resources are exempted from paying royalty from January 1 to May 31, so revenue planning has been changed. From € 17,350,000.00 as revenues planned for 2021, € 19,994,485.36 were collected (or expressed as a percentage of 115.24%).

Objectives 2022
ICMM foresees to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its duties and responsibilities by continuing the upgrade of internal control system and governance in general and specific objectives in particular:
– Implementation of mining legislation, policies and mining strategy
– Licensing of mining enterprises in compliance with LMM, the mineral resources management plan, mining strategy and the sustainable utilization of mineral recourses
– Monitoring, inspection and also implementation of all Laws related to mining sector by the licensed enterprises and implementation of action plan to prevent and prohibit illegal operators;
– Attraction of investors through promotions of mining potential that Kosovo has and offers
– Increase the level of transparency, communication and upgrade of information technology system in order to enable efficiently work in ICMM and provide services to investors, companies and citizens
– Prevention and prohibitions of the informal economy in the mining field.

The challenges in the future
Taking into account the rights and responsibilities specified in the LMM and other provisions of applicable laws related to mining sector, on the one hand undertaking activities to implement them in practice and the concepts of development trends in this field, we can consider as a special challenge for the RKS institutions and anyway a challenge for the ICMM itself.
We can distinguish challenges to achieve the objectives set for the future as following:
– Approval of the Law on Mines and Minerals (with amendments) will create safety and facilitation for the companies interested for investments in mining sector in the Republic of Kosovo
– Prevention of the informal economy (prevention and prohibition of illegal mining operations) and sequestration of means and their mineral commodities in compliance with LMM
– Increase the quality and safety at work in mining operations. Although the function of the mining sector in Kosovo is accompanied by good security, it still remains a challenge for the Inspectorate of Mines to adopt and implement the technical and security standards applied in the EU countries with cooperation with the relevant institutions;
– Failure to treat on time the cases submitted to Courts. Penal sanctions imposed by the Courts are not reaching the effect to prevent the prohibition of illegal operations because they are very low sanctions also sometimes ridiculous ones (200 euro)
– Drafting and approval of the sub-normative acts necessary and indispensable for the implementation of the LMM
– Continuous implementation of activities deriving from the implementation of the Mining Strategy and the Mineral Resource Management Plan
– Continuous implementation of activities deriving from the implementation of mining policies.