Small business owners for Arctic gold rush? | Polarjournal
For Russia, gold sales are an important source of revenue. Annually, 340 tons of the precious metal are mined.

In Russia, fishing and ice fishing are one of the most popular spare time activities. Now a new one is likely to join them soon. As daily newspaper Vedomosti reports, the government supports the draft law on artisanal activities that would allow individuals to mine gold.

The Commission also approved amendments to the Tax Code on the payment of VAT by gold buyers if the miner mined less than 1 kg of gold during the reporting period.

Soon gold mining will be legalized even for small entrepreneurs. Shovel, wash and hope, this is what the day of a gold prospector looks like.

According to the initiative, residents of the Far East and the Arctic can register as individual entrepreneurs through a specially created online system and receive land for free use.

A plot of land not exceeding 10 hectares is granted for three years with the possibility of renewal for another three years “upon agreement of the parties.”

With the bill, the government hopes to increase the admission of more private miners to the market exploiting non-industrial gold deposits. In addition, illegal mining and illegal trade in precious metals should be reduced.

The bill imposes a number of restrictions on prospectors, including:

  • The miner may only work at one site, remove a layer of earth up to 5 m and employ no more than 10 people.
  • The maximum amount of gold mined for the entire period of the contractor’s activity on the site should not exceed 30 kg.
  • Not allowed are blasting operations, substances hazardous to the environment and the environment, the use of chemical methods of gold mining and the use of equipment with a power greater than 5 kW. An exception applies to vehicles weighing up to 3,500 kg.
  • The site must not be located in the areas within the boundaries of which there are deposits of gemstones.
  • Miners will be required to keep records of their activities with photo and video recording of the site.
Gold panning is one of the oldest and simplest methods of extracting gold particles from river sediments. For prospectors with limited financial resources, it still represents the only viable method of gold extraction.

The explanatory memorandum to the bill estimates the positive effect on the regions’ budgets at 15.1 to 29.99 billion rubles ($195 to $390 million), accumulated over three years.

Legalizing artisanal mining could help create more than 10,000 new jobs, the release said.

According to the Union of Gold Miners, there are 247 gold mining companies in Russia, each producing less than 30 kg per year, and their total production is 2 tons per year. In total, about 340 tons of gold have been mined annually in Russia over the past three years.

However, experts told Vedomosti that the bill was too strict in imposing capacity restrictions on miners. Miners currently working in the informal “gray” mining sector are unlikely to legalize and agree to such conditions, as they believe this would significantly reduce their profits.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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