Terms of subsoil use

Subsoil plots are provided for use for a fixed period or without a time limit for:

  • geological study – for a period of up to 5 years or for a period of up to 10 years when carrying out work on the geological study of subsoil areas of internal sea waters, the territorial sea and the continental shelf of the Russian Federation;
  • extraction of minerals – for the period of development of a mineral deposit, calculated on the basis of a feasibility study for the development of a mineral deposit, ensuring the rational use and protection of subsoil;
  • groundwater extraction – for up to 25 years;
  • mining on the basis of granting a short-term right to use subsoil plots in accordance with Article 21.1 of the Subsoil Law – for a period of up to 1 year.

Indefinitely, subsoil plots may be provided for the construction and operation of underground structures not related to the extraction of minerals, associated with the disposal of waste, the construction and operation of oil and gas storage facilities, as well as for the formation of specially protected geological objects and other purposes.

The terms of use of subsoil plots are calculated from the moment of state registration of licenses for the use of these subsoil plots.

Subsoil use rights may be alienated or transferred from one person to another to the extent that their circulation is permitted by federal laws.

Minerals and other resources extracted from the subsoil, under the terms of a license, may be in federal state ownership, the property of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, municipal, private and other forms of ownership.

The right to use subsoil is terminated :

1) after the expiration of the term of its validity established in the license;

2) when the license holder waives the right to use subsoil;

3) upon the occurrence of a certain condition (if it is fixed in the license), upon the occurrence of which the right to use subsoil is terminated;

4) in case of renewal of a license in violation of the conditions provided for in Article 17.1 of this Law;

5) in cases stipulated by the legislation of the Russian Federation on concession agreements.

The right to use subsoil resources may be prematurely terminated, suspended or limited by the authorities that granted the license in the following cases:

1) the occurrence of an immediate threat to the life or health of people working or living in the zone of influence of works related to the use of subsoil;

2) violation by the subsoil user of the essential conditions of the license;

3) systematic violation by the subsoil user of the established rules for the use of subsoil;

4) occurrence of emergency situations (natural disasters, military actions and others);

5) if the subsoil user has not started using the subsoil within the stipulated volumes within the period established in the license;

6) liquidation of an enterprise or other business entity to which subsoil was provided for use;

7) on the initiative of the license holder;

8) failure by the subsoil user to submit reports provided for by the subsoil legislation of the Russian Federation;

9) at the initiative of the subsoil user upon his application.

The right to use a subsoil plot of federal significance for the exploration and production of minerals carried out under a combined license is terminated ahead of schedule by the authorities that granted such a license, based on a decision of the Government of the Russian Federation adopted in accordance with part five of Article 2.1 of this Law.

If the subsoil user disagrees with the decision to terminate, suspend or restrict the right to use subsoil, he may appeal against it in an administrative or judicial proceeding.

When using subsoil in accordance with a production sharing agreement, the right to use subsoil may be terminated, suspended or limited on the terms and in the manner provided for by the said agreement.

  1. Legal measures of subsoil protection.

The legal protection of subsoil is a system of measures regulated by law aimed at ensuring the rational use of subsoil, preventing their depletion and pollution in order to meet the needs of the economy and the population, and protect the natural environment.

The wealth of the subsoil is one of the exhaustible and non-renewable natural resources, therefore the main task and main feature of their protection is the organization of rational and integrated use in the process of their exploration and development in order to prevent wasteful and mismanaged exploitation of minerals, loss of mineral raw materials.

Basic requirements for the protection of subsoil (Article 23 of the Law of the Russian Federation “On Subsoil”):

1) compliance with the procedure established by law for granting subsoil for use and preventing unauthorized use of subsoil;

2) ensuring the completeness of geological study, rational integrated use and protection of subsoil;

3) conducting advanced geological study of subsoil, providing a reliable assessment of mineral reserves or properties of a subsoil plot provided for use for purposes not related to the extraction of minerals;

4) conducting state expertise and state accounting of mineral reserves, as well as subsoil plots used for purposes not related to the extraction of minerals;

5) ensuring the most complete extraction from the subsoil of the reserves of the main and, together with them, occurring minerals and associated components;

6) reliable accounting of the reserves of the main and co-occurring minerals and associated components extracted and left in the subsoil during the development of mineral deposits;

7) protection of mineral deposits from flooding, flooding, fires and other factors that reduce the quality of minerals and the industrial value of deposits or complicate their development;

8) prevention of pollution of the subsoil during work related to the use of subsoil, especially in the underground storage of oil, gas or other substances and materials, burial of harmful substances and production waste, discharge of wastewater;

9) compliance with the established procedure for the conservation and liquidation of enterprises for the extraction of minerals and underground structures not related to the extraction of minerals;

10) prevention of unauthorized construction of mineral deposits and compliance with the established procedure for using these areas for other purposes;

11) prevention of the disposal of production and consumption wastes on the catchment areas of underground water bodies and in the places where groundwater occurs, which are used for the purposes of drinking and domestic water supply or industrial water supply, or which are reserved as sources of drinking and domestic water supply.

Taking into account the irreproducible nature and economic significance of the mineral wealth contained in the subsoil, the law establishes the priority of the use and protection of minerals. A subsoil block with reserves of mineral deposits is provided primarily for their development. The design and construction of settlements, industrial complexes and other economic facilities is permitted only after receiving the conclusion of the management bodies of the state subsoil fund on the absence of minerals in the subsoil under the site of the forthcoming development.

The development of mineral deposits or the placement of underground structures in the places of their occurrence is allowed with the permission of the management bodies of the subsoil fund and mining supervision, provided that it is possible to extract minerals or the economic feasibility of development is proved.

The most important areas of activity for the protection of subsoil are state accounting, state expertise and state registration, which are carried out by specially authorized bodies for managing the subsoil fund.

State accounting is carried out by maintaining the state cadastre of deposits and manifestations of minerals, as well as the state balance of mineral reserves (Articles 30, 31 of the Law of the Russian Federation “On Subsoil”).

The state cadastre includes information on each mineral deposit (on the quantity and quality of both the main and co-occurring minerals, the conditions for their development, geological and economic assessment).

In order to take into account the state of the mineral resource base of the country, a state balance sheet is maintained, which contains data on the quantity and quality of reserves of each type of minerals, their placement, development, production, losses, as well as the provision of industry with explored mineral reserves.

State expertise is carried out in order to create conditions for the rational integrated use of subsoil, determine fees for use, boundaries of subsoil plots provided for use, etc. Not only mineral reserves are subject to examination, but also geological information on subsoil plots suitable for construction and operation of underground structures not related to the extraction of minerals.

The provision of subsoil for use may be permitted only after a state examination has been carried out.

State registration – inclusion in the state register – is subject to subsoil plots provided for use, work on the geological study of subsoil, as well as licenses for the use of subsoil.

The legal measures for the protection of subsoil also include the obligations of the subjects of the right to use subsoil for the safe conduct of work related to subsoil use, compliance with the procedure for the liquidation and conservation of enterprises for the extraction of minerals and underground structures not related to the extraction of minerals. The construction and operation of enterprises for the extraction of minerals, underground structures for various purposes, the conduct of a geological survey of the subsoil, as well as the liquidation and conservation of the relevant enterprises and structures are allowed only when ensuring the safety of life and health of employees of these enterprises, the population living in the zone of influence of subsoil use works, and protection of the natural environment (prevention of its pollution, disturbance of the water balance, subsidence of the earth’s surface, etc.).

In case of violation of the listed requirements for the protection of subsoil, the right to use subsoil may be limited, suspended or terminated by the competent state bodies.

A specific feature of subsoil protection activities is the protection of geological information .

Information on the geological structure of the subsoil, minerals, the conditions for their development, etc. may be in state ownership (if it is obtained by the subsoil user at the expense of state funds) or in the ownership of the subsoil user (if it is obtained at the expense of its own funds). It is submitted to the state fund of geological information (in the latter case, with the condition of its use for commercial purposes). Officials of state funds of geological information are obliged to ensure the confidentiality of the information they provide and bear responsibility for its unauthorized disclosure.

A necessary element of subsoil protection activities is state control in the field of subsoil use relations. State control over geological exploration, rational use and protection of subsoil is carried out by state geological control bodies and state mining supervision bodies in cooperation with environmental and other control bodies, including law enforcement. See “Regulations on State Control over Geological Exploration, Rational Use and Protection of Subsoil” (approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of February 2, 1998 N 132).

A special form of legal protection of subsoil is the conservation protection of unique geological objects. Rare geological outcrops, mineralogical formations, paleontological objects and other subsoil areas of special scientific or cultural value may be declared geological reserves, wildlife sanctuaries or monuments of nature or culture.

  1. The concept, types and legal regime of water bodies.

The earth, which provides natural conditions for life on the planet, the existence of flora and fauna, are the basis of human life, economic, social and environmental well-being of society.

Waters are a renewable, but limited and vulnerable natural resource, therefore, environmental legislation regulates their rational use and comprehensive protection.

The subject of legal regulation is water relations, that is, relations in the field of use and protection of water bodies.

A water body is a concentration of water on the surface of the land in the forms of its relief or in the bowels, which has boundaries, volume and features of the water regime.

As for water as a chemical compound found in the environment and not concentrated in water bodies or withdrawn from them, relations regarding it are regulated not by environmental, but by civil and other branches of the legislation of the Russian Federation.

The legislation regulating water relations (water legislation) is based on the norms of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and consists of the Water Code of the Russian Federation of 1995 and other normative acts of the Russian Federation and its subjects. Among the most important among them are the Federal Laws “On inland sea waters, the territorial sea and the adjacent zone of the Russian Federation” of 1998, “On the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation” of 1998, “On the protection of Lake Baikal” of 1999, “On payment for the Use of Water Bodies” 1998, Regulation on the implementation of state control over the use and protection of water bodies, approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of June 16, 1997 No. 716, Regulation on water protection zones of water bodies and their coastal protective strips, approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of 23 November 1996 No. 1404, Rules for granting state-owned water bodies for use, establishing and revising water use limits, issuing a water use license and an administrative license, approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of April 3, 1997 No. 383, etc.

Water bodies, the legal regime of which is regulated by water legislation, are divided into several types depending on the physical-geographical, hydro-regime and other characteristics:

– surface water bodies;

– underground water bodies.

Surface water bodies include:

1) seas or their separate parts (straits, bays, including bays, estuaries and others);

2) watercourses (rivers, streams, canals);

3) reservoirs (lakes, ponds, flooded quarries, reservoirs);

4) swamps;

5) natural outlets of groundwater (springs, geysers);

6) glaciers, snowfields.

Surface water bodies consist of surface water and land covered by it within a coastline. The coastline (boundary of a water body) is determined for:

1) the sea – along a constant water level, and in the case of periodic changes in the water level – along the line of maximum ebb;

2) rivers, streams, canals, lakes, flooded quarries – according to the average annual water level during the period when they are not covered with ice;

3) ponds, reservoirs – according to the normal retaining water level;

4) swamps – along the border of a peat deposit at zero depth.

Groundwater bodies include:

1) groundwater basins;

2) aquifers.

The boundaries of groundwater bodies are determined in accordance with the subsoil legislation.

Surface water bodies that are in state or municipal ownership are water bodies for general use, that is, public water bodies, unless otherwise provided by the RF VC. Every citizen has the right to have access to public water facilities and use them free of charge for personal and domestic needs, unless otherwise provided by the RF VC, other federal laws.

In accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Russian Federation recognizes state, municipal and private forms of ownership of natural resources.

All water bodies in the country are state property.

Municipal and private ownership is allowed only for isolated water bodies. An isolated water body (closed body of water) is a small and stagnant artificial body of water that does not have a hydraulic connection with other surface water bodies. The maximum dimensions of these objects are determined by the land legislation.

Separate water bodies are owned by municipalities (urban and rural settlements), citizens and legal entities. Relations on their use and protection are regulated by civil and land legislation, and only in the part not regulated by them – by water legislation.

The subjects of state property rights are the Russian Federation and the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. A water body cannot be simultaneously owned by several subjects of state ownership and is not subject to transfer to the ownership of municipalities, citizens and legal entities.

Thus, all water bodies, with the exception of a pond, a flooded quarry, located within the boundaries of a land plot owned by a constituent entity of the Russian Federation, a municipality, an individual, a legal entity, are in federal ownership, therefore they are respectively owned by these entities.

The content of the ownership right to water bodies is determined by the civil legislation of the Russian Federation, unless otherwise provided by the water legislation. This is due to the natural features of such a natural resource as water as an object of property rights. The concept of ownership is not applicable in its entirety to water bodies, since the water concentrated in them is in a state of continuous movement and water exchange. At the same time, a change in the river bed or any other change in the location of a water body does not entail a change in the form and type of ownership of the water body.

The right to dispose of water bodies is significantly limited. Sale, pledge and other transactions that entail or may entail the alienation of water bodies are not allowed. Only the rights to use water bodies can be transferred from one person to another in cases and in the manner prescribed by law. Only isolated water bodies can participate in civil circulation as belonging to the land plots on which they are located.

  1. Purposes and types of water use, grounds for granting water bodies for use.

Water bodies are used for the purposes of drinking and domestic water supply, discharge of wastewater and (or) drainage water, production of electricity, water and air transport, wood alloy and other purposes provided for by the VC.

Types of water use:

Based on the conditions for providing water bodies for use, water use is divided into:

1) joint water use;

2) isolated water use. It can be carried out on water bodies or their parts owned by individuals, legal entities, water bodies or parts thereof, owned by the state or municipality and provided to ensure the defense of the country and the security of the state, other state or municipal needs, the provision of which precludes the use water bodies or their parts by other individuals, legal entities, as well as for commercial fish farming.

According to the method of using water bodies, water use is divided into:

1) water use with the intake (withdrawal) of water resources from water bodies, subject to the return of water to water bodies;

2) water use with the withdrawal (withdrawal) of water resources from water bodies without returning water to water bodies;

3) water use without withdrawal (withdrawal) of water resources from water bodies.

Water use may be suspended or limited in the event of:

1) threats of causing harm to human life or health;

2) the occurrence of a radiation accident or other natural or man-made emergencies;

3) causing harm to the environment;

4) establishment of protective zones of hydropower facilities;

5) in other cases provided for by federal laws.

Suspension of water use in cases provided for by the Code of Administrative Offenses is carried out in a judicial proceeding. In other cases, the suspension of water use is carried out by executive bodies of state power or local governments within their competence in accordance with federal laws.

Limitation of water use is established by regulatory legal acts of the executive bodies of state power, regulatory legal acts of local governments or a decision with

Individuals, legal entities acquire the right to use surface water bodies on the grounds and in the manner established by Chapter 3 of the RF VC. Individuals, legal entities acquire the right to use groundwater bodies on the grounds and in the manner established by the subsoil legislation.

The right to use surface water bodies is terminated on the grounds and in the manner established by civil legislation and this Code, as well as on the grounds established by the legislation of the Russian Federation on concession agreements.

The right to use underground water bodies is terminated on the grounds and in the manner established by the subsoil legislation.

The basis for the forced termination of the right to use a water body by a court decision is:

1) inappropriate use of a water body;

2) use of a water body in violation of the legislation of the Russian Federation;

3) non-use of the water body within the terms established by the water use agreement or the decision to grant the water body for use.

Forced termination of the right to use water bodies in cases of the need to use them for state or municipal needs is carried out by executive bodies of state power or local governments within their competence in accordance with federal laws. The presentation of a demand for the compulsory termination of the right to use a water body must be preceded by a warning by the executive body of state power or local government.

On the basis of water use agreements , water objects that are in federal ownership, the property of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the property of municipalities, are provided for use for:

1) intake (withdrawal) of water resources from surface water bodies;

2) use of the water area of water bodies, including for recreational purposes;

3) the use of water bodies without the withdrawal (withdrawal) of water resources for the purposes of generating electrical energy.

On the basis of decisions on the provision of water bodies for use, water bodies that are in federal ownership, the property of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the property of municipalities, are provided for use for:

1) ensuring the defense of the country and the security of the state;

2) discharge of sewage and (or) drainage water;

3) construction of berths, ship-lifting and ship-repair facilities;

4) creation of stationary and (or) floating platforms, artificial islands on lands covered with surface waters;

5) construction of hydraulic structures, bridges, as well as underwater and underground passages, pipelines, underwater communication lines, other linear objects, if such construction is associated with a change in the bottom and banks of water bodies;

6) exploration and production of minerals;

7) carrying out dredging, blasting, drilling and other works related to changing the bottom and banks of water bodies;

8) lifting sunken ships;

9) alloy wood in rafts and with the use of wallets;

10) withdrawal (withdrawal) of water resources for irrigation of agricultural land (including meadows and pastures);

11) organized recreation for children, as well as organized recreation for veterans, elderly citizens, and disabled people.

It is not required to conclude a water use agreement or make a decision to grant a water body for use if the water body is used for:

1) navigation (including maritime navigation), navigation of small size vessels;

2) single takeoff, single landing of aircraft;

3) abstraction (withdrawal) from an underground water body of water resources, including water resources containing minerals and (or) being natural healing resources, as well as thermal waters;

4) intake (withdrawal) of water resources in order to ensure fire safety, as well as to prevent emergency situations and eliminate their consequences;

5) intake (withdrawal) of water resources for sanitary, ecological and (or) navigable releases (discharges of water);

6) intake (withdrawal) of water resources by ships in order to ensure the operation of ship mechanisms, devices and technical means;

7) reproduction and acclimatization of aquatic biological resources;

8) conducting state monitoring of water bodies and other natural resources;

9) conducting a geological study, as well as geophysical, geodetic, cartographic, topographic, hydrographic, diving works;

10) fishing, commercial fish farming, hunting;

11) implementation of traditional nature management in places of traditional residence of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation;

12) sanitary, quarantine and other control;

13) environmental protection, including water bodies;

14) scientific, educational purposes;

15) exploration and extraction of minerals, construction of pipelines, roads and power lines in swamps, with the exception of swamps classified as wetlands, as well as swamps located in floodplains of rivers;

16) watering garden, garden, country plots, maintaining a personal subsidiary farm, as well as a watering place, carrying out work to care for farm animals;

17) bathing and meeting other personal and domestic needs of citizens in accordance with Article 6 of this Code;

18) carrying out dredging and other works in the water area of a sea or river port, as well as maintenance of inland waterways of the Russian Federation;

19) creation of artificial land plots.

The provision of water bodies that are in federal ownership, the property of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the property of municipalities, or parts of such water bodies for use on the basis of water use agreements or decisions on the provision of water bodies for use is carried out by the executive bodies of state power and local governments, respectively. The provision of a federally owned water body for use to ensure the defense of the country and the security of the state is carried out on the basis of a decision of the Government of the Russian Federation

Under a water use agreement, one party – an executive body of state power or a local self-government body – undertakes to provide the other party – a water user with a water object or part of it for use for a fee.

The provisions on lease provided for by the Civil Code of the Russian Federation shall apply to the water use agreement, unless otherwise established by this Code and does not contradict the essence of the water use agreement. A water use agreement is recognized as concluded from the moment of its state registration in the state water register.

The deadline for signing the contract is 20 years.

  1. Basic requirements for the use and protection of water bodies.

Usage:

During the design, construction, reconstruction and operation of hydraulic structures, measures must be provided for and timely implemented to protect water bodies, as well as aquatic biological resources and other objects of the animal and plant world. When using water bodies included in water management systems, it is not allowed to change the water regime of these water bodies, which may lead to a violation of the rights of third parties.

Work on changing or arranging a natural reservoir or watercourse is carried out on condition that its natural origin is preserved.

For the purposes of drinking and domestic water supply, surface water bodies and groundwater bodies protected from pollution and clogging, the suitability of which for these purposes is determined on the basis of sanitary and epidemiological conclusions, should be used.

The use of water bodies for the purpose of discharging wastewater and (or) drainage water is carried out in compliance with the requirements stipulated by the VC and legislation in the field of environmental protection.

Discharge of sewage and (or) drainage water into water bodies is prohibited:

1) containing natural medicinal resources;

2) classified as specially protected water bodies.

It is prohibited to discharge sewage and (or) drainage water into water bodies located within the boundaries:

1) zones of sanitary protection of sources of drinking and household water supply;

2) the first, second zones of the districts of sanitary (mountain and sanitary) protection of medical and recreational areas and resorts;

3) fish protection zones, fishery protected areas.

The use of reservoirs is carried out in accordance with the rules for the use of reservoirs, which include the rules for the use of water resources of reservoirs and the rules for the technical operation and improvement of reservoirs.

The use of water bodies for the purposes of generating electrical energy is carried out taking into account the interests of other water users and in compliance with the requirements for the rational use and protection of water bodies. Water users operating hydropower facilities are obliged to ensure the mode of drawdown and filling of reservoirs, taking into account the priority of the purposes of drinking and household water supply.

Water users carrying out timber rafting are obliged to regularly clean water bodies from sunken timber. Wood floating without ship propulsion on water bodies used for navigation, and molar floating of wood on water bodies are prohibited.

Withdrawal (withdrawal) of water resources for extinguishing fires is allowed from any water bodies without any permission, free of charge and in the amount necessary for extinguishing fires. The use of water bodies intended to ensure fire safety for other purposes is prohibited.

Use of water bodies for the purposes of water and air transport; for the extraction and exploration of minerals; for recreational, medical and health purposes; for hunting is carried out in accordance with individual federal laws and other regulations.

Security:

The owners of water bodies carry out measures to protect water bodies, prevent their pollution, clogging and depletion of water, as well as measures to eliminate the consequences of these phenomena. The protection of water bodies that are in federal ownership, the property of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the property of municipalities, is carried out by the executive bodies of state power or local governments within their powers. When using water bodies, individuals, legal entities are obliged to carry out water management measures and measures to protect water bodies in accordance with the VC and other federal laws.

Discharge into water bodies and burial in them of production and consumption waste, including decommissioned ships and other floating craft (their parts and mechanisms), is prohibited. Carrying out works on a water body, as a result of which solid suspended particles are formed, is allowed only in accordance with the requirements of the legislation of the Russian Federation.

The content of radioactive substances, pesticides, agrochemicals and other substances and compounds hazardous to human health in water bodies should not exceed, respectively, the maximum permissible levels of natural radiation background, characteristic of individual water bodies, and other standards established in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

Burial of nuclear materials and radioactive substances in water bodies is prohibited.

Discharge into water bodies of wastewater, the content of which contains radioactive substances, pesticides, agrochemicals and other substances and compounds hazardous to human health, exceeds the allowable impact on water bodies, is prohibited.

It is prohibited to carry out explosive operations on the basis of nuclear and other types of industrial technologies, during which radioactive and (or) toxic substances are released, at water bodies.

Pollution and clogging of swamps with production and consumption wastes, their pollution with oil products, pesticides and other harmful substances are prohibited.

Drainage or other use of swamps or their parts should not lead to deterioration of the unused parts of these swamps, other water bodies and to the depletion of water

Unauthorized discharge of wastewater onto glaciers, snowfields, as well as clogging of glaciers, snowfields with production and consumption waste, pollution with oil products, pesticides and other harmful substances are prohibited.

The intake (withdrawal) of ice from glaciers should not have a negative impact on the state of water bodies and lead to water depletion.

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