A new resolution of the National Mining Agency (ANM) that provides for rules regarding the Mine Closure Plan (PFM) was issued on April 30, 2021 and will enter into force on June 1, 2021. Resolution ANM No. 68/2021 presents provisions to standardize and regulate the set of procedures necessary for the monitoring of PFM throughout the life of the mine, as well as the decommissioning process of mining enterprises and post use of such areas.
Every mining enterprise, whether in force and in operation or with its activities to be initiated or suspended, must present a PFM prepared by a legally qualified professional and accompanied by the respective Technical Responsibility Note (ART).
These measures shall be complied with within certain deadlines that vary from 12 months, as of the publication of the resolution, up to 24 months from 1st june 2021, when the new rules will enter into force.
Operating mining enterprises in mining concession phase must present an updated PFM by May 4, 2021. In turn, those in mining concession request phase must submit the updated PFM within 180 days, as of the mining concession grant.
The elements that must necessarily make up the MPF to be submitted to the ANM vary according to the life phase of the mine and the start of its activities.
For projects that have just reached mining concession phase or those in the mining concession request phase which effective mining activity have not yet been initiated, the elements that should be included in the plan include:
- Maps, plants, photographs and images (standardized according to the standards of ABNT - Brazilian Association of Technical Standards);
- Documentation describing the current situation of the area;
- Mining infrastructure project overlaid to the current context of the area;
- Conceptual design of decommissioning of civil structures and physical and chemical stabilization of the remaining structures;
- The rehabilitation actions of the area already performed;
- Main monitoring and maintenance actions already planned in the area; and
- Physical-financial schedule of pfm, integrating pre-closing, closing and post-closing actions.
In the case of mines in exhaustion closure, in addition to the same elements for projects in the application phase or mining concession with activity not initiated, the PFM should contain:
- Characterization of the area of the enterprise, with data from civil structures, geotechniques, hydraulics, electrical installations, equipment, among others (standardized according to ABNT standards);
- Assessment of the risks arising from the closing of the enterprise and ways of mitigating any damages resulting from the activity;
- Plan for the demobilization of the facilities and equipment that make up the infrastructure of the enterprise;
- measures to prevent unauthorised access to facilities and to prohibit access to hazardous areas;
- Maintenance actions and monitoring of the remaining structures after the closure of the project; and
- Guidelines for adequacy of the area to the predicted future use.
For mines that are closed before exhaustion, the PFM must contain:
- Declaration of remaining mineral resources and reserves and
- Technical and economic justification for the closure of mining activities.
Finally, for operational mines, all previous elements and the life expectancy of the enterprise will be required.
In the case of projects containing mining tailing dams, the PFM should have, as a mandatory element, the tailing dam decharacterization plan or other technical solution in charge of the technical responsible, with the objective of reducing the Associated Potential Damage (DPA) to each existing tailing dam.
If it is not possible to mischaracterize the tailing dam, the PFM should provide for its monitoring in accordance with current legislation. In such cases, for the preparation of the PFM, the professional responsible for the plan must be legally qualified to provide services related to tailing dams and present the respective ART.
Just as the mining activity itself and the consequent useful life of a mine are subject to variations that depend on various economic and climatic factors, the PFM should also be updated to be consistent with such changes. In this sense, the rule was inserted that the PFM should be updated every five years or at the time of updating the Economic Recovery Plan (PAE), the one that occurs first. Exception is made in the case of undertakings with mining assets with validity of less than five years and/or with the expected closure of mining activities of less than two years. In the latter case, it is mandatory to prove the execution of the PFM.
In addition to the elements mentioned above for each case, depending on the life phase of the mine, pfm updates should include:
- Description of the closing actions of the areas that may be closed throughout the operation (in the case of progressive closure) and
- Updated planialtimetric survey of the areas and structures that make up the enterprise.
Such updates shall be reported to the ANM within the deadlines set out above and be available at the mine in case of inspections.
The latest PFM update should be communicated to the ANM at least two years before the expected mining closure and, in case it takes place before exhaustion, the updated PFM should be presented. In the same sense, the waiver of the mining title may only be approved after approval by the ANM of the final report of implementation of the PFM.
Small enterprises, with proven mining and processing operations of low complexity and impact, may be exempted by the ANM from some of the elements required for the PFM.
With the measures established, the resolution reinforces the tightening of standards related to the protection of health and public safety in mining activities and the need for adequate planning of the closure of mining structures, through monitoring and monitoring of the life of mines and their decommissioning.
 According to the definition of Federal Law No. 14,066/2020, which amends the National Dam Safety Policy: "Damage that can occur due to disruption, leakage, infiltration into the ground or malfunction of a dam, regardless of its probability of occurrence, to be graduated according to the loss of human lives and social, economic and environmental impacts."