Pursuant to Section 1 and item 4 of Section 49 of Bt., the exploration of mineral resources shall be considered as mining operation.
Any mining operation in Hungary may only be pursued considering the regulations of Bt., the Government decree 203/1998 on its implementation (Vhr.) and other pertaining legislation. Pursuant to such legal rules any mining operations including the exploration of mineral resources are subject to permitting. The notion of exploration under the scope of Bt. is laid down in item 17 of Section 49 of Bt.
The minister shall grant a right for exploration in the concession contract for the exploration of the mineral resources and geothermal energy specified under the contract in a closed area. The Mining Authority shall issue the permit for exploration of mineral resources in an open area.
The application for permit for exploration of mineral resources or geologic structure in an open area shall be submitted to the Mining Departments of Divisions for Authority Affairs of the competent Government Offices as well as the Division of Mining Supervision (as for Pest County Government Office) (hereinafter referred to as: Mining Department). Content requirements of application for permit for exploration shall be set out in Section 6 of Vhr.
Further content requirements of applications for permit for exploration of hydrocarbons shall be specified by Section 6/B of Vhr.
Section 22/A of Bt. and Section 6/A of Vhr. shall contain specific rules of permitting exploration of hydrocarbons.
A certain amount of administration service fee shall be paid for the consideration of application for the permit for exploration pursuant to Ministerial decree 78/2015 on administrative service fees and other administrative charges to be paid to the Mining Authority, and detailed rules of payment of the supervision fee.
The granted right for exploration or the permit for exploration shall provide an exclusive right to the mining entrepreneur in the exploration site, for the presentation of mineral raw material and geothermal energy exploration technical operation plan, for the initiation of approval and the exploration of the mineral raw material and geothermal energy carried out under an approved technical operation plan of exploration, and for the establishment of the mining plot under the approved final report of exploration, the commencement of the designation of the geothermal protective pillar (paragraph (2) of Section 22 of Bt.)
The exploration site shall be designated in blocks. Within one exploration site every block shall be in direct contact with the neighbouring block at least with one bordering side.
The maximum area of an exploration block may be:
a) 400km2 in case of hydrocarbons,
b) 50km2 in case of coals and bauxite,
c) 30km2 in case of mineral resources with ore content,
d) 8km2 in case of other solid mineral resources.
A mining entrepreneur – except for hydrocarbons – may hold the exploration right or the permit for exploration for the same mineral resources on no more than 8 (eight) exploration blocks simultaneously.
The exploration may be permitted without the designation of blocks for a seismic line or for an exploration planned with aerial photography (paragraph (2) of Section 7 of Vhr.)
The exploration may be permitted for a 4-year period at most. The period for exploration may be extended at most once – twice in case of geothermal energy and non-conventional hydrocarbons - by the half of the initial period for exploration (Section 14 of Bt.).
The mining entrepreneur shall be obliged to notify the Mining Authority of the exploitation of solid mineral raw materials carried out in the course of exploration, and the expectable quantitative and qualitative data thereof at least 8 (eight) days prior to the commencement of exploitation while the quantitative and qualitative data of hydrocarbon exploitation within 8 (eight) days subsequent to the commencement of the exploitation. The exploitation may be restricted either for the protection of mineral resources by the Mining Authority, the protection of nature and environment by the Environment and Nature Protection Authority, the proper management of water affairs by the Authority for Water Affairs or for protection of water by the Authority for Water Protection (paragraph (4) of Section 7 of Vhr.).
The right for exploration shall cease to exist if the entitled fails to request the approval of the technical operation plan for exploration at the Department for Mining within 6 (six) months from the enforceability of the resolution permitting the exploration, or if the request has been rejected in a final resolution by the Mining Authority (paragraph (8) of Section 22 of Bt.).