The World Bank has awarded a grant to the Royal Government of Bhutan to support reforms in the mining sector.

The Work Bank-led Extractives Global Programmatic Support (EGPS) multi-donor trust fund provided the $300,000 grant, which is expected to enable the Department of Geology and Mines to implement its 2017 Mineral Development Policy.

Under the reforms project, known as the Supporting Minerals Management Policy Reform, the government will amend the 2002 Mines and Minerals Management Regulations to conform to global best practices on various aspects, such as mine allocation, use of strategic minerals and mineral pricing.

“This grant will provide support to the ongoing sector reforms and help in accelerating development of the mining sector.”

Bhutan Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay Dorji said: “The mining sector is one of the five jewels of the economy. It is an important sector and currently it accounts for 3% of GDP.

“This grant will provide support to the ongoing sector reforms and help in accelerating development of the mining sector.”

In addition, the grant will be used to support advocacy programmes for the implementation of the Mineral Development Policy, develop technical capabilities within the Mineral Development Division, and augment information system and compliance monitoring.

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The EGPS grant comes after the World Bank previously provided technical assistance to develop the Mineral Development Policy and the draft Mines and Minerals Management Bill.

Bhutan Ministry of Economic Affairs Secretary Dasho Yeshi Wangdi said: “This grant is very timely as we are looking to bring major reforms in the mineral sector to curb many of the issues faced in the past.

“Our aim is to have a stronger and vibrant mineral sector to manage the country’s mineral resources for maximum benefit to the nation and the people.”

The technical assistance provided by the bank is expected to help improve the nation’s business environment and attract more private sector investments.