Burundi to reform mining code to attract foreign investors

11:17, July 26, 2011      

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Officials from the Burundian ministries in charge of mines, environment and justice on Monday met in the capital Bujumbura to amend the code on the exploitation and the commercialization of minerals in an effort to attract foreign investors in that sector.

At the opening of the meeting, Burundi's Mining Minister Moise Bucumi said it was important to reform the mining code because it dates back to 1976.

"In the 1976 mining code, foreign investors would get mining permits two or three years after applying for them. There were too many procedures, but the reformed mining code provides that the application for a mining permit will last for three months," Bucumi told participants.

According to Bucumi, the application for a mining permit had to go through several offices including the office of the director general in charge of mining issues, the mining ministry, the council of ministers, the office of the head of state where a decree had to be issued and sometimes at the parliament.

"The amended mining code provides reduced procedures to obtain the mining permits," Bucumi said.

He said the 1976 mining code had become obsolete and presented some shortcomings. "That's why we've met to amend it and update it to today's reality in an effort attract foreign investors in the mining sector," Bucumi said.

The Burundian mining minister said the 1976 code showed some shortcomings notably in the field of environmental protection.

"Some articles of the 1976 mining code on artisan mining were missing. We need to know how to orient, supervise and approve organizations of artisan miners," Bucumi said.

The reformed code provides the creation of approved mining counters. "The reformed mining code also urges artisan miners to work in association," the minister added.

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