Lithuania's mineral resources, mostly used for construction of roads and buildings, are nearing exhaustion, while environmental rules and property rights make it difficult to prospect for new deposits.

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Eglėsių karjeras ("Spectrum"/G. Motuzos nuotr.)

The last time that Lithuania looked for sand and gravel deposits was three decades ago, but these have been almost used up by the construction industry, Lietuvos Žinios reports.

"Sand and gravel resources in Lithuania were explored before 1990 and they are almost exhausted. The extent of new prospecting is small. Even though we definitely have sufficient deposits of sand and gravel, the problem is that they are difficult to exploit," says Jonas Satkūnas, director of the Lithuanian Geological Survey.

The best pools of sand and gravel that were identified during previous surveying have long been divided up, says Tadas Survila of the company Kelprojektas.

His company receives about 20 contracts a year to prospect new areas, estimate available resources and draw up exploitation plans. However, most of commissions cover small areas near already existing quarries.

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