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The Executive Chairman of the National Geological Service, Erlan Galiev, announced that the practice of charging investors for geological information will continue, despite objections from the Competition and Development Agency (AZRK). Galiev stated that the National Geological Service, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, considers the practice justified and will clarify its position to the competition agency.

“It seems to me that there was a bit of a misunderstanding here. The National Geological Service and Kazgeoinform have always charged for the preparation of this geological information, which investors then receive. If legislation had stipulated that we charge for the costs borne by the state, including historical costs, the amounts would be completely different. They would be astronomical,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the MINEX-2024 forum.

According to him, the historical costs of obtaining geological information for areas, even during Soviet times, were very high and incomparable to the fee charged by the National Geological Service to investors.

“But we completely ignore this. We only charge for the work done by someone to find this report, systematize it, and conduct an inventory of the information. This work is not free. And since we do all this work, we charge a fee for it. The fee is quite small. With AZRK, our colleagues, another state body, we will prepare and provide an explanation. We will work with them to resolve this issue,” said Galiev.

The head of the National Geological Service hesitated to say whether he would go to court to protect his interests, believing that he first needed to clarify his position to AZRK. Additionally, he believes that the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development should present its position as well. Therefore, in his opinion, the discrepancies with AZRK need to be addressed. Furthermore, as noted by the head of the National Geological Service, it is not a subject of natural monopoly.

A few days ago, AZRK reported that the National Geological Service illegally charged potential investors for geological information. In 2022-2023, the operator received 1.2 billion tenge from reviewing 4,000 applications. The largest sum, 40 million tenge, was received from just one investor. The corresponding violations were identified during the AZRK analysis.

At the same time, the National Geological Service charged investors for this service in accordance with the order of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development. However, AZRK noted that the ministry did not have the right to issue such an order since it contradicts the requirements of the “Subsoil and Subsoil Use” Code, which guarantees open and free access to geological information for all interested parties. This norm supports potential investors, facilitating the implementation of new projects.

In connection with this, AZRK decided to stop the National Geological Service’s activities by issuing a prescription to the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development to eliminate the violations identified in this case.