Decree 2691 of 2014
On December 23, 2014, the Government issued Decree 2691, as per Article 37 of Law 685 of 2001 (Mining Code) in order to regulate the procedure that municipalities and districts must follow to request to the Ministry of Mines and Energy the measures to protect the environment against potential impacts derived from mining activities. In general terms, the decree provides the following:
- The protection measures adopted under the decree, shall apply to pending mining applications and to those filed as from the date of issuance of the decree. However, the measures shall not be applicable to concession agreements signed but not registered in the Mining Register.
- The procedure described in the decree, begins with the petition to apply the measures to protect the environment (hereinafter the “Application”) filed with the Ministry of Mines and Energy by the municipality or district through its council.
- In order to request the measures to protect the environment, municipalities or districts must have a municipal agreement prior to the Application, which indicates the intention to establish protective environmental measures, within the areas of their respective territorial constituency.
- The municipal or district agreement, as the case may be, must state the reasons for the Application. Similarly, the Application must be based on technical studies made by the applicant municipality or district.
- The technical study should include the social, cultural, economic and environmental analysis describing the possible effects generated by the mining activities on their territories.
- Furthermore, studies must be in accordance with the Land Use Plan and the Basic Schemes Land, as appropriate. The Application may be filed whenever land use plans are modified by the municipality or district.
- Upon receipt of the Application along with the technical study by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Ministry will send the Application along with the technical study to the competent authority to be evaluated. The evaluation of the Application by the competent authority must be made available through a supported opinion that states the feasibility of the Application.
- If deemed appropriate the Ministry of Mines and Energy must request a concept to the National Planning Department or to the relevant entity, in order to establish the economic impact of the protection measures. Also it must be taken into account the views of the companies that have an interest in the area or of the mining guild.
- Once the above steps are accomplished, the Ministry of Mines and Energy shall convene a meeting with the applicant and the responsible national authority, in order to set out the reasons for the request and the concept, respectively.
- Then, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, in a supported administrative act, must decide the request on the basis of the principles of sustainable development, economic and social empowerment of the country, state ownership of non-renewable natural resources and use efficient thereof.