In the public perception in Kosovo, there are four major mining sectors:  1) lignite mining for power generation; 2) base metal mining of Trepca; 3) ferronickel mining of Ferronikeli; and 4) aggregates as construction material.  The first two are of key importance to the country.  Coal is fundamental for energy supply, and the Trepca mining and smelting complex has an enormous, historically founded reputation as a backbone of wealth in Kosovo.  However, the Trepca reputation lacks realism, as the Trepca mines need significant overhaul to keep up with an adequate production level.  Difficult, much discussed, and still unresolved is the legal, financial, and environmental situation of Trepca.  This process is ongoing, and there is growing awareness among the political parties that the deadlock over the insolvency of Trepca needs to be resolved sooner rather than later, through an administrator.  Only then, can the potential of Trepca’s existing mines and properties be unleashed.

At the same time, the greenfields exploration potential of Kosovo has gradually been recognized by Kosovars and external experts.  The legal and administrative framework for the mining industry has been established over the past ten years, first by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and followed-up and further developed by the Kosovo government.  Specifically, a new mining law, established in 2010, exists, and the independent regulator and oversight mechanism is functioning properly.  The legal, tax, and administrative institutions for business activities, in general, are all in place, and processes and procedures are establish and understood.

Kosovo is a young state, emerging from a socialistic background.  The administration continues to learn in coping with Western-style democratic processes, and is guided by international assistance and encouraged by the long-term EU admissions process.  Kosovo’s security is guaranteed by NATO and its forces in Kosovo.  There has been little reason for concern over the past years, and it appears that with continued economic growth, the potential security issues will continue to decrease in importance.

The mining sector will play an important role for Kosovo’s growth.  The new, democratically elected government has split up the former ministry of finance and economy into one for finance only, and a new one for economic development, putting all institutions and corporate bodies, relevant for such development, under one roof.  This includes the former ministry of energy and mines. 

The international mining community has not really put its eye on the potential of the region.  However, if demand increases, reaction from the Kosovo political side would be supportive and existing bottlenecks and/or shortcomings would be quickly addressed and resolved.