The mining of natural resources in Chile contributes to a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is a great source of foreign investment. If you are interested in starting a business venture in mining, it is important to understand the laws governing this sector. Read on to learn more about the laws concerning mining in Chile.

chile mining law and regulation

There are 7 main laws to consider for mining in Chile.

1. Overview of Chile’s Mineral Resources

Chile is known for mining four (4) main natural resources. They are:

  • Copper
  • Molybdenum
  • Silver
  • Gold

As of 2013, foreign investments in the Chilean mining industry accounted for 35% of the total foreign investments and 25% of the total domestic Chilean investments.

2. Mining Regulation in Chile

There is a framework of different legal regulations and codes that govern the business of extracting minerals in Chile. The different entities are:

  • The Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile- the legal basis for mining legislation
  • The Organic Constitutional Law on Mining Concessions- describes the general terms of mining concessions
  • The Chilean Mining Code- details the procedures of how to gain exploration and exploitation concessions
  • The Mining Code Regulations- reinforces the Mining Code
  • The Mining Safety Regulation- deals with the safety of the workers involved

Regulatory authorities that deal with mining legislation include the National Geology and Mining Service, the Ministry of Mining, the Environmental Assessment Service, and the Superintendence of Environmental Affairs.

3. Ownership Rights to Mining Lands

All mines are owned exclusively by the state and cannot be transferred by lapse of time or prescription. A person can gain mining concessions regardless of who has ownership of the land.

4. Mining Authorization in Chile

Mining law states that the surface land is subject to the same regulations and limitations as the actual mine and mineral processing.

There are two kinds of mining concessions:

  • Exploration- grants the holder the right to explore and investigate the aforementioned mine for minerals. This concession lasts for two years and can be renewed.
  • Exploitation- allows the holder to fully exploit his or her right to explore and also makes them the owner of any minerals they find and process. This concession does not expire as long as Chilean taxes are paid.

Concessions are awarded judicially at a non-contentious legal proceeding.

5. Chilean Environmental Considerations

The environmental protection measures are usually dependent upon the environmental components that may be affected by the mine, such as a water supply or nearby residential area. Mining waste is regulated by the construction and location of where the waste is dumped.

6. Health and Safety for Chilean Mining Workers

The most important regulations regarding health and safety include:

  • Having appropriate waste disposal procedures
  • Having proper evacuation procedures
  • Adequate worker training with machinery and high altitude
  • Accurate signage at work sites

7. Foreign Ownership

There are no legal restrictions imposed by the Chilean government against foreign investment and foreign mining companies in Chile.

Mining in Chile: Digging for Opportunity!

There are many things to consider before beginning the process of incorporating a mining business in Chile. Despite this, Chile is very welcoming of foreign mining companies.

If you would like more information on mining law in Chile, Biz Latin Hub has a group of legal experts that can offer you guidance for your mining business in Chile. Contact Allan, our Country Manager and mining specialist at [email protected] for help on getting your business set up in Chile.

Watch the following video to learn more about how to start a company in Chile.