Ukraine’s parliament on November 12 passed at first reading bill No. 2240 settling the issue of amber production, which envisages the introduction of unified licenses for exploration with the right to produce amber during the period of five years for the sites up to 10 ha sold at electronic auctions on the ProZorro platform.
A total of 342 MPs backed the document.
According to the bill, access to amber deposits will be regulated by establishing the right of land easements and the definition of separate Article 971 of the Land Code for the exploration and mining of amber deposits on disturbed lands.
In addition, the document introduces criminal liability for illegal mining and administrative liability for violation of mining requirements, as well as toughens liability for non-compliance with land reclamation requirements and the obligation to compensate for losses incurred.
According to the Ministry of Energy and Environment Protection, the bill also removes a number of duplicate and archaic approvals for amber deposits (in particular, mineral titles and permission to remove the fertile layer) and introduces the filing of all documents in electronic form through an electronic account.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has proposed to punish for amber smuggling with imprisonment from three to seven years and introduce an article on illegal extraction of amber to the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
This is outlined in bill No. 2059 amending the Criminal Code of Ukraine on criminal liability for the illegal extraction of amber or its movement across the customs border of Ukraine registered by the head of state in parliament.
So, it is proposed to introduce Article 240-1 (illegal extraction of amber). This crime is punishable by a fine of 700 to 3,000 tax-free minimum incomes of citizens (1 minimum is UAH 17), or imprisonment for a term from one to three years.
“The sale, acquisition, storage, transfer, transportation, processing of illegally obtained amber shall be punishable by a fine of 3,000 to 10,000 tax-free minimum incomes of citizens, or by imprisonment for a term from three to six years,” the president said in the bill.
The same actions committed with prior conspiracy by a group of persons, either repeatedly or on a large scale, as well as illegal amber extraction committed on the territories or objects of the nature reserve fund, shall be punishable by imprisonment for a term from four to seven years.