Bulgaria Moves to Criminalize Unauthorized Coal Mining
Bulgaria’s Energy Ministry has detected systematic unauthorized extraction of coal at the Bobov Dol basin.
Acting on a tip-off, a group of experts from the Energy Ministry caught people digging for coal without a concession granted in line with the requirements of the Underground Natural Resources Act.
The exact location of the illegal mines is yet to be established as they may prove to be on the territory of a nearby concession area.
The people who were extracting coal without a proper permit are to be issued administrative-penal statements of offence, according to a media statement of the Energy Ministry.
Economy Minister Bozhidar Lularski argued Thursday that the unauthorized extraction of underground natural resources had to be criminalized.
Lukarski’s comments were triggered by a landslide in Pernik allegedly triggered by illegal coal mining in a landslide-prone area.
In a bid to curb the practice, Bulgarian authorities also plan to initiate legal amendments allowing the tracking of the origin of underground natural resources via certificates or personal numbers of the concession-holders or by introducing an obligation for the facilities storing underground natural resources to install CCTV cameras functioning round the clock.
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