Mining legal frameworks

This section presents some brief information on the Legal Framework of a group of Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

If you are interested to learn more on these topics, you can find a summary of the regulatory framework related to extractive activities on the Country fiches Tool available in the Members' Area. This tool is organised in 8 indicators: Government and judiciary systems; Exploration licenses; Mining licenses; Mining Code, Permitting procedures; Government support for the mining industry; Mining tax regimes; Occupational Health and Safety.

ARGENTINA
  • Mining regulations in Argentina are mainly established in the Argentine Mining Code -AMC (Law No. 1919; Decree No. 456/1997; Law No. 25225), local procedure laws and some special federal laws can contain other specific dispositions.
  • Law regulating investment in mining: No. 24196 on Mining Activity; Laws No. 25429 and 25161, as amended.
  • Government incentives to the mining activity as stated in the Mining Code include, among others, deductions on exploration expenses in income tax assessments, VAT refund on exploration costs eliminations of duties on exports and other tax deductions.
  • Mineral rights are separated from surface ownership and are owned by the federal government but managed by the provinces.
  • The exploration concession “cateo” gives the owner a preferential right to explore a specific area for minerals and to apply for a mining concession.

For more information, access the Country fiches Tool.

BRAZIL
  • Mining in Brazil is regulated by the Brazilian Mining Code (Decree-Law n. 227 of 1967, currently under review).
  • Other dispositions concerning mining can be found in the Law 7,805 of 1989, Law 9,314 of 1996, the National Environmental Policy Law and the Water code, among others.
  • Mineral exploration licenses are granted by the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM).
  • The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) issues development-mining concessions (“Concessão de Lavra”).
  • Mining Concessions (until exhaustion of the mine): Cannot be granted to individuals, the concessionaire must be a company incorporated according to Brazilian laws.

For more information, access the Country fiches Tool.

CHILE
  • The Chilean Mining Code addresses topics covered in the Organic Constitutional Law on Mining No. 18.097 and sets out, among others, the procedure for obtaining exploration and exploitation concessions and regime governing contracts related to mining operations.
  • The Request for an exploration or exploitation concession has to be presented to the local court.
  • Exploitation concessions are granted for an indefinite time, therefore, the holder can freely transfer it without additional authorization.

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COLOMBIA
  • The Colombian Mining Code (Law 685/2001, modified by Law 1382/2010); Decree 2655 of 1998 regulates the matters pertaining to the mining concessions, contracts, permitting procedures, etc.
  • A prior concession issued by the National Mining Agency (ANM) and registered in the National Mining Registry is required for exploration. A permit from the environmental authority for the use of renewable natural resource will be also required at the exploration stage.
  • Mining exploitation activities require an environmental license.

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MEXICO
  • The Mexican Mining Law Regulations and Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution regulate mining issues, in particular the exploration, exploitation, and processing of minerals.
  • The Secretariat (Secretaría) of Economy – Sub-secretariat of Mining is the Federal Mexican agency in charge of controlling all mining matters, including mining concessions.
  • Foreigners can acquire mining concessions only through the setting-up of a mining company/corporation.
  • A water concession is necessary for activities beyond the extraction of minerals activities.

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PERU
  • General Law of Mining (Supreme Decree Nº 014-92-EM; Legislative Decree Nº 109) regulates mining activities, concessions, taxes and related matters.
  • The same mining concession is valid for exploration and exploitation operations. Prospecting and trading are not subject to a concession system.
  • The General Directorate of Mining (DGM) grant the title for processing concessions to medium and large-scale mining.
  • In the case of small-scale mining, the title is granted by the Regional Directorate of Energy and Mines (DREM).

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URUGUAY
  • The Mining Code (Law 15.242 of 1982) regulates the institution of titles and mining rights and organizes the regimes that enable the mining activity.
  • The National Directorate of Mining and Geology of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining is the institution in charge of granting the prospection, exploration and exploitation concessions.
  • Exploitation concessions can be leased.

For more information, access the Country fiches Tool.