Peru takes steps to legalize artisanal and small-scale miners

Peru’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Cayetana Aljovín. Reference photo by Ministerio de Energía y Minas.

Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines announced that it has made available on its website a new set of forms and regulations that will help speed the process of legalization of small-scale and artisanal miners in the country.

The documents are a catalog of environmental measures and the so-called Instrument of Environmental Management and Auditing for the Formalization of Small-scale and Artisanal Mining Activities (IGAFOM in Spanish).

The reports act as a follow-up to the process of registration of illegal miners started by the government back in February with the goal of regularizing the status of 12,000 workers by 2018. The documents are also expected to function as corrective and preventive protocols that will guide miners’ activities and those of regional ministries of energy and mines.

“We need to clarify that the measures contained in the Environmental Management Plan and declared in the ‘corrective aspect’ forms of the IGAFOM must be implemented throughout the period during which the integral process of mining regularization is taking place,” the ministry stated in a press release.

Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper and zinc producer, has been trying to regulate small-scale and artisanal mining activities since 2002, but the implementation of different social processes and legal frameworks have continued to fail. In 2016, the Pedro Pablo Kuczynski government announced that the executive branch would take matters into its own hands; thus, his office started a new process that declared the legalization of small-scale and artisanal mining operations a matter of national interest.

Mining accounts for about 15 per cent of gross domestic product in the South American nation, while minerals make up some 60 per cent of export earnings.

On top of tackling illegal mining, the Kuczynski administration is also working towards simplifying permits to attract new foreign investment into Peru.