Chile to launch public consultation on tailings regulation

Chile’s Mining Minister Aurora Williams. (Image by MinMineria).

Mining Minister Aurora Williams announced that, in July 2024, Chile will launch a public consultation to modify Supreme Decree No. 248, which regulates tailings deposit design, construction, operation and closure.

During a presentation at the Sustainable Atacama Seminar, Williams said that while the executive power is in charge of implementing any changes to the decree, citizen participation is a prerequisite to doing so.

“Therefore, all of those who live this reality can participate, they can tell us which aspects are properly addressed, which aspects we are missing and which we can modify. That is the spirit of updating a regulation through participation,” the minister said.

In the politician’s view, modifying the decree will allow for the development of a clear procedure regarding what it means to reprocess or transport tailings. These two processes are not duly regulated.

Despite her acknowledgement of areas for improvement, the mining minister applauded the work of the National Geology and Mining Service, Sernageomin, in monitoring active and inactive tailings dams. She pointed out that an observatory is being developed to offer further information on the state of these deposits.

Chile hosts 795 tailings deposits across its territory, 405 of which are in the Coquimbo region and 185 in the Atacama region.