Principal applicable environmental laws

What are the principal environmental laws applicable to the mining industry? What are the principal regulatory bodies that administer those laws?

The principal environmental laws are the following:

  • Law No. 28611 (General Environmental Law);
  • Law No. 27446 (Law of the National System of Environmental Impact Assessment);
  • Supreme Decree No. 042-2017-EM (Environmental Regulation for Mining Exploration Activities); and
  • Supreme Decree No. 040-2014-EM (Regulation of Protection and Environmental Management for the Activities of Exploitation, Benefit, General Labour, Transport and Mining Storage).

The principle regulatory bodies that administer these laws are MINEM, the Assessment and Environmental Control Agency (OEFA), SENACE and regional governments as an environmental controlling entity.

Environmental review and permitting process

What is the environmental review and permitting process for a mining project? How long does it normally take to obtain the necessary permits?

To initiate mining activity, the titleholder must have in force the corresponding environmental certification, as well as the licences, authorisations and permits established under current legislation.

The environmental certification is classified into the following categories:

  • an environmental impact statement includes the projects where execution will not generate significant negative impact in the environment. This environmental certification is obtained automatically;
  • a semi-detailed environmental impact study includes the projects where execution can cause a moderate environment impact for which negative effects can be eliminated or minimised through the adoption of simple applicable measures. To obtain this environmental certification could take between six to eight months; and
  • a detailed environmental impact study, which includes the projects where characteristics, scope and location could produce significant environment impact requiring a deep analysis of said impacts. To obtain this environmental certification could take a year.
Closure and remediation process

What is the closure and remediation process for a mining project? What performance bonds, guarantees and other financial assurances are required?

Peruvian regulation establishes the mining closure plan as an environmental management tool formed by the technical and legal actions that the titleholder must perform to establish all the measures to remediate the area used for mining activity to restore the necessary characteristics to establish a healthy environment.

The titleholder of the mining activity will submit the mining closure plan to MINEM for its approval. This mining closure plan will establish the studies, actions and site management to reduce and eliminate, where possible, all the contaminant effects that would harm the population and the ecosystem. This plan is to be executed in a progressive way during the lifespan of the mining operation.

The titleholder of the mining activity must establish securities in favour of the competent authority to cover the costs of rehabilitation measurements for the periods of final closure and post-closure of the mining activity.

Restrictions on building tailings or waste dams

What are the restrictions for building tailings or waste dams?

The restrictions for building tailings are established in Supreme Decree No. 040-2014 (Regulation for Protection and Environmental Management for Exploitation, Benefit, Overall Work, Transport and Mining Storage Activities). The restrictions are:

  • the control and management of emissions of particulate material in all the stages of the process;
  • the control and management of reagents; and
  • to prioritise the circulation of water to optimise the final disposition, etc.

After the construction of the building tailing, the OEFA can undertake checks at any time, which may be previously advised or without advice.

In Peru, a mandatory alarm system and emergency drills with the local community have not yet been implemented.

The mining companies and authorities’ responsibility regarding the rescue of people in case of a dam failure could be civil, criminal and/or administrative, as applicable.