In recent years, Chile has invested significant resources to revise and revamp regulation of its mining industry and its efforts to restructure existing regulations continue into 2015.
In 2010, Chile enacted a new law that created the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Evaluation Service, and the Superintendent for the Environment. The Ministry of Environment (at the Cabinet-level), is charged with assisting the President of Chile in developing and implementing appropriate policies, programs, and regulations for the protection of the environment. The Environmental Evaluation Service is, as anticipated, charged with administering Chile’s Environmental Impact Evaluation System—a system that evaluates foreseeable environmental impacts of projects, including mining projects, to identify implementable measures to mitigate potential negative environmental effects. Finally, this 2010 law created the Office of Superintendent for the Environment, which is tasked with compliance enforcement of applicable environmental rules and regulations.
In the wake of implementing these significant changes to the Chilean regulatory structure and identifying benefits and challenges of the same, Chile is now considering new mining regulations with the purpose of reducing regulatory uncertainty and increasing investment both foreign and domestic. Specifically, President Michelle Bachelet recently established a commission that will review existing regulations and develop proposals to improve or otherwise revise the existing regulatory structure to not only ensure continued responsible mining development in Chile, but also to expedite evaluations and processes for this very important industry. The commission is comprised of academics and specialists in environmental, social, and indigenous issues, and will be led by the Minister of Environment.