On 8 November 2017, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine ("Ministry") placed on its website for public discussion the draft Resolution of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine amending the procedure for the use of geological data ("Resolution").
The Resolution is designed to improve the procedure for the use of geological information and transparency in data management, which is hoped to facilitate investment in Ukraine, including in the development of extractive industries.
Key changes relate to the following:
Access to state-owned geological data 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 data; 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. Access to state-owned geological data will be publicly available online.
The scope and categories of geological information will be defined
The Resolution streamlines definition of geological information, and divides it into two categories: initial and secondary geological data. The initial data are obtained during exploration of geological strata and examination of samples collected; secondary data are obtained as a result of analysis and interpretation of the initial geological data. With the introduction of a broader definition of geological data and its classification, there will be an improved balance in access to, and protection of, information, depending on its legal status.
New public registers of geological data will be established
State-owned geological data will be transferred to the State Repository of Geological Data and Rock Materials. In addition, the Registry of Geological Data will be established where all the geological data, irrespective of their form and ownership, should be registered. This will help systematise data and facilitate data management.
The procedure for transfer of privately owned geological data will be streamlined
It will be possible to transfer of geological data 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 data 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 these data, including by third parties interested in undertaking mining projects in Ukraine.