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Legal and Regulatory Status of CMM Ownership in Key Countries: An Overview Provided for Decision Makers in Mongolia

Legal and Regulatory Status of CMM Ownership in Key Countries: An Overview Provided for Decision Makers in Mongolia

Mongolia is richly endowed with coal resources; having proved reserves over 12 billion metric tons, and having unexplored resources that are at least an order of magnitude greater. In recent years, the Mongolian Government and the coal industry have attached great importance to coal methane mine (CMM) and coalbed methane (CBM) development and utilization. CMM is a GHG 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide[1].  Unlike other GHGs, methane is the primary component of natural gas and can be converted to usable energy. The reduction of methane emissions therefore serves as a cost-effective method to reduce GHGs and increase energy security, enhance economic growth, improve air quality and improve worker safety.

On March 27, 2008 the Government of Mongolia became the 24th member of the Global Methane Initiative (GMI). GMI is a voluntary, multilateral partnership that aims to reduce global methane emissions and to advance the abatement, recovery and use of methane as a valuable clean energy source.

Mongolian officials, mines, and other organizations have expressed interest in the legal and regulatory treatment of CMM worldwide as background information in considering the policy framework required to facilitate and encourage development of CMM projects in Mongolia.  This paper describes Mongolia’s current legal and regulatory administration of CMM followed by several case studies of CMM regulatory and ownership conventions in the United States (US) and other key countries.  Finally, the paper presents several options and considerations for moving forward with a comprehensive CMM policy.

[1] Global warming potential for 100-year time horizon.  2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), p212. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter2.pdf