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Chemical Stability

Andrés Lopez, Eduardo Sanzana, and Jorge Campos

The promulgation and the entry into force of the Law Nº 20.551 that regulates the closure of mining operations and its facilities, through the Supreme Decree Nº 41, on November 2012, has been one of the most relevant regulatory changes in the last few years for the mining industry in Chile.

In summary, the new Law has three fundamental pillars: the obligation to submit for the approval of the authorities a closure plan that guarantees the physical and chemical stability of the mining facilities after finishing their operations; the requirement to provide the State with a financial guarantee equal to the value of the implementation of the closure measures and works; and the establishment of a post-closure fund.

In addition, the Law gives more attributions to the corresponding Authority (SERNAGEOMIN, part of the Chilean Mining Ministry) to establish audits and apply rigorous sanctions to those non-compliant mining companies.

The Law was successfully implemented through a collaborative public-private strategy, and the result was the presentation in time of the mine closure plans by 90% of the industry, with closure cost gradually guaranteed from 2015, for an amount superior to US$ 12.000 millions.

This article presents a vision of the main lessons learned from the process of the implementation of the Law during its key installation stage (2012-2014), from the perspective of a world class mining company and its mine closure consultant experts; as well as improvement opportunities and challenges that the mining industry will face with this new Law within the next years. Read more... about Implementation of Mine Closure Law in Chile: Lessons Learned and Opportunities

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