June 6th, 2023

By ministerial agreement published on May 31, 2023, the Ministry of Energy and Mines (hereinafter the “MEM“) amended the “Instructive for the approval of projects for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of tailings deposits for medium and large scale mining”.

a. Registration Engineering

This reform incorporates the concept of registration engineering, which consists of the position of a natural or legal person, national or foreign, whose experience is not less than 10 years in the design or consulting of engineering studies related to tailings deposits. Registration engineering is responsible for:

a. Prepare, sign and deliver design documents, calculation reports, drawings and engineering reports, in Spanish.

b. Validate engineering changes and adjustments “in situ“.

c. Define alert levels together with the mining concessionaire for hazard situations.

d. Conduct dam safety inspections and audits.

e. Update the Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring Manual (hereinafter the “MOMV“).

f. Update what-if breakage models, risk analysis and emergency plans.

g. Prepare monthly work records and annual reports.

h. Ensure quality in the work “in situ” through a team of field professionals.

i. Prepare and review reports “As built“.

a. Registration Engineer

With the reforms introduced, the registration engineer will not have to have his professional degree, national or foreign, of third or fourth level, registered with the National Secretariat of Education, Science and Technology (hereinafter the “SENESCYT”)). Only need to prove the experience of at least 10 years in design or advisory activities associated with tailings deposit studies. The registration engineer will be the leader of the consultancy providing the registration engineering services. Finally, the reform eliminates the obligation for the workplace of said professional to be in the mining project.  

b. Responsible Engineer

On the contrary, the third or fourth level title of the responsible engineer must be registered with SENESCYT. There must be an engineer responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of tailings deposits or engineering works of great magnitude in the geotechnical field, or constructions related to dams and reservoirs. Its main responsibilities are: a) Ensure the integrity of tailings deposits. b) Be the liaison with the registration engineering and the registration engineer. c) Supervise that the construction, operation and maintenance of the tailings deposit complies with the design, standards and regulations in force. d) Manage the monitoring system. (e) Responsible for emergency preparedness, response and recovery. g) Head of the MOMV.

c. MEM action in emergency situations

The MEM will request the Agency for Regulation and Control of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (hereinafter the “ARCERNNR”) and the Secretariat for Risk Management to evaluate the emergency situation of the tailings deposit to quantify the damages and evaluate the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the mining concessionaire.

The concessionaire will determine the need for further studies and work and submit an engineering action plan to solve the problems encountered. ARCERNNR will verify the immediate implementation of the plan to restore the safety of the tailings deposit.

d. Design project approval resolution issuance time

The deadline for the MEM to issue the administrative resolution approving the tailings deposit design project is extended from 5 to 10 days, from the receipt of the approval reports from ARCERNNR.

e. Operation manuals

The mining concessionaire must develop, implement, review, and update the MOMV annually according to the progress of the Tailings Management System. These manuals should follow best practices, provide context and controls critical to the safety of operations. The engineer responsible for the tailings facilities, with support from the registration engineer, will train the personnel involved in the Tailings Management System and provide them with access to the MOMV.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us.

Source: Agreement of the Ministry of Energy and Mines No. MEM-MEM-2023-0012-AM of May 29, 2023.



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