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Brazil's President Michel Temer signed Tuesday a decree instituting the new Mining Code Rules. This adds up to the set of Federal Government initiatives targeted at overhauling and updating the Brazilian regulatory framework for the mineral industry, and supervenes the current rules that have been in place for nearly 50 years by now.

The erstwhile Mining Code Rules (instituted by Decree No. 62,934 of July 2, 1968) were outdated, the more so because the Mining Code itself has undergone several changes over the last 50 years – while the rules themselves remained unchanged. The 1996 overhaul even expressly stated that the mining code rules should be updated, but this has never come into being. This led to dysfunctional rules whose practical applicability and reliability waned as doubts arouse on account of their purported incompatibility with the Mining Code or the presence of obsolete concepts.

The new Rules have thus come at the right time. In fact, some of the matters regulated by them were even addressed at Provisional Measure No. 790 of 2017, which remained effective for some 120 days but eventually lost its effect as the National Congress did not vote it into law or reject it. Those matters that needed not be addressed by law were then incorporated into the new Rules.

The new rules are a clear effort to improve the current legislation as seamlessly as possible, but in close attention to the international industry dynamics and to a number of other sensitive issues.

The new Rules detail and update several provisions and mechanisms already envisaged in the Mining Code. For a start, the Rules address the scope of authority of the recently-created National Mining Agency (ANM), such being instrumental to establish the duties of ANM (currently under...

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