Federal Decree establishes Pro-Strategic Minerals Policy containing measures to support environmental licensing procedures

On March 25, 2021, Federal Decree 10,657 (“Decree”) was published, setting forth the Policy to Support Environmental Licensing of Investment Projects for Strategic Minerals Production – Pro-Strategic Minerals. This policy is aimed at coordinating actions between public agencies in order to prioritize government efforts for the implementation of mineral production projects that are strategic to the country’s development and that are identified as part of the Presidency’s Investment Partnerships Program (“PPI” in Portuguese acronym).

Such Decree established the Inter-ministerial Committee for Analysis of Strategic Minerals Projects (“CTAPME” in Portuguese acronym), whose main function is to define which mining projects shall be considered relevant to the expansion of national production of strategic minerals, in order to integrate the Pro-Strategic Minerals Policy. Environmental agencies remain fully responsible for conducting and deciding on the environmental licensing procedures for those projects qualified under the Pro-Strategic Minerals Policy, as established by the relevant legislation. Furthermore, these projects will receive support in the environmental licensing procedure via the Special Secretariat of the Investment Partnerships Program of the Ministry of Economy.

The Decree further establishes that, in order for mining projects to be qualified under the Pro-Strategic Minerals Policy, their scope must encompass one of the following criteria: (i) mineral asset on which the country depends on imports in a high percentage to supply vital sectors of the economy; (ii) mineral asset that is important due to its application in highly technological products and processes; or (iii) mineral asset that presents comparative advantages and that is essential for the economy by ensuring a surplus in the country’s trade balance.

Demarest’s Environmental, Mining and Infrastructure teams are available to provide support with further information and for the definition of measures to be adopted on a case-by-case basis.