On 7 November 2018, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine by its Resolution No. 939 approved "Procedure of the Use of Geological Information" (the "Resolution").

The Resolution is designed to improve the procedure for the use of geological information and enhance transparency in the data management, which is hoped to facilitate investment in the extractive industries of Ukraine.

Key changes relate to the following:

The scope and categories of geological information are defined

The Resolution streamlines definition of geological information, and divides it into two categories: initial and secondary geological information. The initial information is obtained during exploration of geological strata and examination of samples collected; secondary information is obtained as a result of analysis and interpretation of the initial geological information. With the introduction of a broader definition of geological information and its classification, there will be an improved balance in access to, and protection of, information, depending on its legal status.

Access to state-owned geological information will be simplified

Currently, geological information is not publicly accessible and the access procedure is not governed in detail, giving rise to delays or unjustified refusals of applicants' requests for information. The Resolution sets out the procedure for obtaining state-owned initial geological information; it establishes fixed time frames for processing an applicant's request for access to information and determines grounds for refusing access; for example, where access is sought to geological information having limited access, or to secret information, or where an applicant is under Ukrainian sanctions.

It should be possible to purchase the state-owned initial geological information upon filing the relevant request with the State Service of Geology and Mineral Resources of Ukraine. The state-owned secondary geological information will be publicly available online. In the event of obtaining a special permit for subsoil use, a subsoil user should pay for the use of the secondary geological information to compensate costs incurred by the state for undertaking the survey. Compensation will be calculated in accordance with the special methodology approved by the government in 2008.

New public registers of geological information will be established

State-owned geological information will be transferred to the State Repository of Geological Information and Rock Materials. In addition, the Catalogue of Geological Information will be established where all the geological information, irrespective of their form and ownership, should be registered. This will help systematise data and facilitate data management in the industry.

The procedure for transfer of privately owned geological information will be streamlined

It will be possible to transfer of geological information upon 10 days' prior notice to the State Service of Geology and Mineral Resources, and the consent of this body will no longer be required. The Resolution governs the transfer of privately owned geological information to state ownership and their public disclosure, including following the liquidation of a legal entity, or after cancellation or expiry of a special permit for subsoil use. This will facilitate public access to this information, including by third parties interested in undertaking mining projects in Ukraine.

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