Riigikogu makes oil shale mining regulations more flexible

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Estonian Riigikogu passed late on Monday night the law of amendments to the Earth's crust act and environmental fees law, Public Broadcasting reports.

The law amendment was approved with 62 votes, with 11 MPs against.

This change means that companies that did not manage to mine enough oil shale to reach the annual ceiling rate set on them in 2009, can mine the remaining share for the these years in the next seven years.

"Still, in the seven-year period, the average annual mining volume cannot exceed 20 million tons. The allowed maximum level of mining ensures flexibility of mining and environmental protection," explained the chairman of the Riigikogu Environment Committee, Rainer Vakra.

The currently valid oil shale mining annual rate is 20 million tonnes, while the mining volumes of companies have since 2009 not exceeded 16 million tonnes. Consequently, during the period from 2009 to 2014, 4,028 thousand tonnes per year remained unexcavated or during this period, a total of 24,172 thousand tonnes. Now some oil shale processing companies are suffering from shortage of raw material.

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