TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian state takes over ownership of information about fossil and mineral resources in the country. Before, this information was the private property of the company that did the geological survey.

The government explains this with a need to avoid misunderstandings.

Amendments are to be made to the law on fossil deposits. A bill is already in the parliament. Author of the draft is Georgia’s Energy Ministry and initiator is the government. The bill will be reviewed during the fall session.

Before, information on fossil geological structure, mineral resources, ore processing – mining-technical conditions and other characteristics or parameters, remained the property of the company that spent expenses to gain this information. Such a company could also sell this information, and it was allowed to purchase such kind of information.

There is an article in the law that Georgian legislation protects property rights to information about structure of fossil and mineral resources or other information, and it is prohibited to give away information which is taken in state finance funds without the agreement of the owner.

But the new bill says this type of information, including first geological, geophysical, geochemical information, data on interpretation of this information, industrial data, mountain rock samples, regardless of who gained it and who spend expenses, will be state property.

The draft also says that a license holder of mineral resource obtainer has a right to freely use this information, data and samples in Georgia and other countries, but only within the validity period of the license and with a condition that the confidentiality of the information is protected.

The bill defines that a license holder also has the right to transfer confidential information to its own branch, to any professional adviser, bank or financing body, from which they try to attract finances. But still if this information is given away, confidentiality should be respected.

The government explains that these amendments are important to avoid misunderstandings.

“The goal of adopting the law is to specify and clearly define, which information on Georgia’s property fossil is state property to avoid all kinds of misunderstandings and the government could without interruptions own, use and manage its property,” explanatory note of the bill says, underlining that the goal of the bill is that the government as well as owner of fossil deposits is ablt to without interruption manage their own property.

Experts in this field find it difficult to have an opinion and say it is unclear what goal the government has with its decision.