Executive Decree establishes the Action Plan for the Mining Sector
August 10th, 2021
The President of the Republic, by Executive Decree No. 151 of August 5, 2021, issued the Action Plan for the Mining Sector of Ecuador for the development of the mining sector, to be executed within one hundred days from the signing of the Decree.
The objective of the Plan is “to develop efficient and environmentally and socially responsible mining, determine the potential local geological potential of domestic and foreign investment and implement best practices for the use of these resources.” In addition, the Plan guarantees “the contracts and rights previously acquired and signed with the Ecuadorian State, in order to prevent future contingencies”.
The immediate actions arranged for the implementation of the Plan by the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (MERNNR) are as follows:
- Disseminate at the national level the conditions under which legal and responsible mining must be developed.
- Promote the creation of regulations on prior consultation in accordance with what has been determined by the Constitutional Court.
- Design a strategy against illegal mining.
- Coordinate with the Ministry of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition (MAATE) for the timely granting of environmental and water permits and prior administrative acts.
- “Instruct the National Mining Company ENAMI EP in taking action to develop and facilitate associative agreements in order to allow the participation of private investors in the projects under its responsibility”.
- Disseminate data from the mining sector based on a long-term economic model.
- Promote “transparent and equitable” negotiations with mining title holders that guarantee conditions for the development of mining.
- Strengthen the institutionality of the entity of regulation, control, and administration of mining rights for its efficiency and effectiveness.
- Issue regulations to strengthen administrative processes to “avoid discr etion or arbitrariness of public administration officials in the interpretation of contracts and other administrative actions”.
- Generate conditions to avoid conflicts and controversies and, if they exist, resolve them amicably.
In addition, the National Government undertakes to:
- Monitor compliance with current regulations and public policy and the adoption of international regulations for the responsible development of mining.
- Encourage the adoption of responsible social and environmental practices and the strengthening of control institutions in the mining industry.
- Establish as a State policy for transparency of the information of mining revenues, their use and destination.
- Eradicate illegal mining.
- In 30 days, draft a report of the mining rights granted and in force and the Mining Registry through the Agency for Regulation and Control of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (ARC).
- In 90 days, develop an action plan to develop a new Mining Cadastre for its reopening.
- In 90 days, develop an annual control plan of mining rights, through the ARC.
- In 120 days, develop a plan for the formalization of artisanal mining.
- In 90 days, modify the instructions for granting metallic mining concessions “with the aim of establishing conditions that guarantee fair and equitable treatment for the participation of national and international actors in the mining sector”.
- In 30 days, expedite the execution of strategic and second-generation mining projects and prepare a report of investment commitments in these projects.
- In 30 days, prepare a project for the formation of the Public-Private Mining Advisory Council.
- In 60 days, issue the guidelines to implement the Action Plan.
- In 60 days, review “the processes of granting permits, authorizations, records, audits, licenses and other administrative acts […] that are in process and pending” for dispatch in no more than 90 days, through the MAATE and the MERNNR.
- In 60 days, issue an Interministerial Agreement for the granting of environmental and water permits to optimize emission times and prioritize ex-post control.
- Within 30 days, issue a Ministerial Agreement for the granting of the administrative act of no harm to water, according to article 26 of the Mining Law.