On November 2, 2022, Exempt Resolutions No. 2600 and 2682 of the General Water Directorate (“DGA”) were published in the Official Gazette, which develop what is regulated in the respective article 56 bis of the Water Code (“WCA”), referred to as the Miner’s Waters.
Specifically, these resolutions refer to the following aspects:
1. Exempt Resolution DGA N°2600, dated October 17, 2022, is in charge of defining concepts of the norm, being relevant the interpretation it makes of it, granting it the category of exception (taking advantage of water without the granting of the respective concession) and, therefore, establishing a framework for its application.
In short, Article 56 bis may be applied to (i) those who hold a mining concession; (ii) those who, for safety reasons, capture groundwater before it emerges in the pit or subway mine (it must be justified that, if the safety action is not carried out, it would emerge in the same pit); and (iii) those who find water in exploration work, provided that it is necessary for the exploitation work.
Those who capture contact water from surface or subway runoff of natural origin, through hydraulic barriers associated with waste disposal works, tailings or safety or sanitary landfills, will not be able to take advantage of this rule.
Finally, it restates the need to submit the pertinent information to the DGA within 90 days of finding the water, for the respective pronouncement.
2. DGA Exempt Resolution No. 2682, dated October 21, 2022, develops the third paragraph of the aforementioned regulation, determining the form, requirements and periodicity for the delivery of the information to the DGA, within 90 days of finding the water, distinguishing between small or artisanal mining (Resolution No. 796 SERNAGEOMIN), small and medium/large mining companies.
It is important to note the deadline set for those who are using the waters found before the reform, who within 15 months after the reform (July 2023) must comply with the above mentioned.
Keep in mind that these waters have special grounds for extinction. Likewise, the DGA may limit the use and enjoyment of these waters, subject to a technical report, in the event that a serious impact on the groundwater or the rights of third parties is verified as a result of these uses.