Russian minerals, now also for foreigners
The Russian government wants foreign companies to come and look for natural resources.
In a bid to heighten the level of mineral exploration, the government is amending the federal law on mineral resources. A bill elaborated by the Ministry of Natural Resources on order from Deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich proposes to give foreign companies enhanced access to exploration and production.
If approved, the law will give the foreign companies, which discover new natural resource deposits, the right to engage in field development and production, Vedomosti reports.
Currently, any company with a foreign ownership stake has restricted access to mineral and metal deposits of so-called ”strategic importance”, a regulation which over the last years efficiently has kept foreign investors away from practically all mineral or metal projects of significant size.
According to Vedomosti, Russia in 2011 spent a total of $471 million on mineral exploration. That is about four times less than Canada, the country which spends the biggest sums on exploration.