Peruvian Ministry of Environment asks Congress to drop bills that promote illegal mining

Madre de Dios is one of the areas in Peru affected by illegal mining. (Image courtesy of Peru’s Ministry of Defense, Flickr).

The Peruvian Ministry of Environment (Minam in Spanish) issued a communiqué this weekend asking for two bills recently introduced in the National Congress to be rejected, as they may encourage illegal mining.

The first bill the Ministry alludes to is Bill N°. 5881, titled Deadlines for the Environmental Management Instrument for the Formalization of Small-scale and Artisanal Mining Activities. This proposal extends until April 2021 the deadline to present a regulation related to bringing into legality unregulated operations.  

In its statement, the Minam points out that the initial deadline to present this document had been extended already to December 30, 2020, and that legislators keep saying that they have not been able to deal with it due to the covid-19 pandemic.

For the Ministry of Environment, all these deadline extensions push new actors to join illegal operations

“It is not possible to continue extracting mineral resources without a proper regulation that allows for mitigating the impacts of these activities,” the communiqué reads. “Through resolution N°. 108-2020-MINAM, the Minam established a series of measures to set baselines and environmental management mechanisms.”

The government department also criticized the fact that the same bill proposes extending to the end of the year the 2019 payments that small-scale miners must make to show they are legally registered, as well as what they have to report as their minimum production quotas.

The second bill the Ministry is asking the legislative power to drop is called Deadline for the Comprehensive Mining Formalization Registry, which extends for another 60 days the deadline for small-scale miners to join the formalization registry. 

“This initiative should not be approved because this deadline was already extended to September 23, 2020,” the statement reads. “Technical analyses show that there is no justification to extend the deadline because from January to June, 12,000 people registered. Furthermore, during the time when a state of emergency was declared, close to 7,000 people signed up. This means that the health emergency has not been an obstacle to registration.”

For the Ministry of Environment, all these deadline extensions push new actors to join illegal operations instead of promoting the legalization process that was underway before the pandemic.

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