The Economic and Tax Commission of Ecuador’s National Assembly approved a report that allows for a second debate on the bill that updates articles 29 and 40 of the country’s Mining Law.
The goal of the reform is to promote transparency when it comes to public competition processes to adjudicate mining concessions.
According to the Assembly, which is the top legislative body, the idea is that conditions are exactly the same for both private and public investors, as well as for foreign and local companies, subsidiaries and mixed-capital firms.
The rules apply for public auction mechanisms, and for the granting of mining concessions and contracts for the provision of services.
As it stands today, the law allows for the direct signing of contracts with state-owned companies or consortiums where the state has the controlling interest. This means that the mining minister is allowed to award contracts and concessions at his or her own discretion.
By eliminating such discretionary actions, “the process of free competition and equal access is strengthened, which could be attractive for private investors,” the commission said in a press bulletin.
The group’s president, Daniel Mendoza, told local newspaper El Universo that they saw the urgent need to change the law because there are complaints related to the direct adjudication of mining concessions. Thus, the government wants to create a level playing field.