This Act settles the conditions and the order of: prospecting, exploration and extraction of the underground natural resources on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, in the continental shelf and in the exclusive economical zone in the Black sea; protection of the earth inner structure, and rational using of the underground resources on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, in the continental shelf and in the exclusive economical zone in the Black sea. One of the major objectives is also the management of mining waste resulting from prospecting, extraction and primary processing of subsurface resources (mining waste shall closely take into consideration the best available technologies and will implement all necessary methods and measures aimed at mining waste quantity reduction; prevention and limitation of harmful impacts; use of and/or full extraction of the useful components contained in the waste; safe storage of waste; provision on the stability and safety of the mining waste facilities; monitoring of mining waste facilities, also after they are closed down).This Act determines that all subsurface resources shall be exclusive State property, and that prospecting and exploration for subsurface resources shall be carried out on the grounds of a licence that has to be obtained. The text is divided into 3 big parts (general provisions; prospecting, exploration and extraction of subsurface resources; conservation of the bowels of the earth through rational use of the subsurface resources in the process of prospecting, exploration and extraction). Offences and penalties are set in articles 93-97.This Act shall not apply to activities such as: the scientific research, educational and lecturing activity; the prospecting, exploration and extraction and protection of the underground waters, including the geothermal energy which they carry; the collection of rock, mineral and soil samples from the earth surface with non-commercial interest; the extraction of gold from the river beds through hand flushing; the extraction of salts and elements of the sea water.
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