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Mining Law Definition
Exploration and mining of natural resources requires solving versatile and specific legal issues, e.g. obtaining licenses, approval of technical documentation, resolution of disputes with supervisory authorities, etc.
Russia has numerous mining companies, however law firms cannot offer developed expertise in the mining industry.
The reason is that mining companies, as a rule, are huge or form part of large holdings with their own extensive legal counseling departments that solve the versatile legal issues faced by their companies, with solving of only limited number of issues being outsourced.
The vast majority of such issues are not unique to miners (complicated labor disputes, registration of share issue prospectuses, assistance in sourcing finance), therefore the law firms hired for it are not required to have an in-depth understanding of their client’s particular business.
By contrast, taxation issues (e.g. defense against tax claims, refund of overpaid taxes) are among the problems exclusively faced by mining companies and most often outsourced to law firms.
Russian miners pay the so called Mineral Extraction Tax, significant within the tax payment structure and payable even if the company is loss making. Apart from that, miners, just like other large companies, pay the income tax – but they face quite specific matters related to their income tax payment.
Taxation solutions are outsourced to companies that have extensive tax practices and a track-record cooperating with the miner (law firms aggressively compete with auditors in this segment). Such companies most often have no expertise within a vast range of issues faced by the mining sector (not only taxation issues). This is what generally characterizes the practice of cooperation between law firms and mining companies – the latter outsource only a limited amount of work to a relatively large number of law firms, which inhibits development of a powerful mining practice within many versatile issues.
Therefore, even a firm that has a large number of mining company clients cannot guarantee that it has experience/expertise in the entire range of the mining industry matters. This is why miners searching for an outside consultant want to look for companies that have experience solving the problems particular to the client.
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