- The second instance Court decision issued by the Council of State on August 4th, 2022, within the Popular Action No. 250002341000-2013-02459-01 (the "Council of State Decision") ordered the National Mining Agency (“ANM”) to update the information reported in Anna Minería regarding the environmentally protected territories over which exclusion and restriction for the development of mining activities exists.
In this context, on January 2023 ANM published the report on compliance with the Decision of the Council of State, where it updates on the information reported by Anna Minería, with special emphasis on the update made between October 20, 2022, and January 18th, 2023 on the environmental information related to 80 protected areas, nine of which corresponds to areas with exclusions and 71 to areas with informative character.
The source of geographic information taken for the update of these areas corresponds to the Single National Registry of Protected Areas ("RUNAP" in Spanish), a tool created by Decree 2372 of 2010 and through which each of the environmental authorities register the protected areas under their jurisdiction aiming to have a consolidated of areas that make up the National System of Protected Areas – SINAP in Spanish.
Additionally, the ANM informed that, with a periodicity of 15 days, the cadastral professional appointed by the ANM will keep updating Anna Minería following the review of the official RUNAP website. At this point, it should be clarified that since the ANM is a consumer of information, it can only register, modify, or update those geographic characterizations that are in force in the RUNAP.
Finally, we note that, based on the provisions of the Mining Code on excluded and restricted areas (articles 34 and 35), mining titles cannot be granted on the geographic layers subject to exclusion, restrictions and those of informative nature.
- The Council of State Decision also ordered the ANM to require the proponents to provide along with their title application a certification from the competent environmental authorities stating: (i) whether the project overlaps with any of the SINAP ecosystems or the of national natural parks system; (ii) if such territory is zoned; and (iii) if the mining activities are allowed in the zoning instrument.
In this context, since October 25, 2022, the ANM announced that technological adjustments would be made within Anna Minería, so that applicants for mining concession contract and differential concession contract proposals could provide, together with their proposal, the environmental certification.
On January 24th, 2023, the ANM informed that Anna Minería has been adjusted accordingly.
- By means of Circular No. SG - 40002023E4000013 of January 19th, 2023 (the "Minambiente Circular"), the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development sent to the regional environmental authorities and the National Natural Parks the guidelines for issuing the certifications that must be required from proponents by virtue of the Decision of the Council of State, including:
- Minimum requirements of the application: The proponents interested in obtaining the environmental certification must submit to the authority in charge: (i) document of the total area of the proposal; (ii) information on the minerals to be requested and the mining systems to be implemented (underground, open pit or combined).
- Processing and term of response: (i) the certification request must be submitted through the VITAL platform, so that the petitioner and the ANM have access to it once it is issued; (ii) the environmental authority will have 15 business days to render the certificate except for exceptional circumstances which must be informed to the petitioner before the expiration of the term; (iii) in the event that the area of the proposal is under the jurisdiction of more than one regional environmental authority, the request must be submitted to each one of them.
- Minimum contents of the certification: (i) whether the project overlaps with any of the ecosystems of the SINAP or the system of national natural parks; (ii) whether such territory is zoned in accordance with the environmental zoning in force; (iii) whether mining activities are permitted in the zoning instrument; and (iv) the map or graphic output with the result of the analysis of the environmental information on the area of interest.
In addition, the Minambiente Circular states that it must be understood that "there is no certainty" about the compatibility of the project with the purpose of conservation of the SINAP area, when the area does not have a zoning or management plan, or when, having such instrument, it does not outline the permitted, prohibited, or restricted activities.
- On January 26th, 2023, Decree 0107 was issued, by which ordered:
- To the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to issue the necessary guidelines for the competent environmental authorities to issue the environmental certificates mentioned in number 2 above; and
- To the National Mining Agency to require the certificate to the proponents of the areas that, as of the date of issuance of the Decree, do not have a mining title.
- External Circular 001 of the National Mining Agency, dated January 19, 2023 (the "ANM Circular"), determined that, as of January 20, 2023, it will adapt Anna Minería data model to the official system of coordinates for Colombia with Unique National Origin, referred to the MAGNA SIRGAS Geocentric Framework. The above, in accordance with Resolution 3870 of June 16, 2021, issued by the Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi (IGAC).
Thus, as of January 20th, 2023, the ANM uses the Unique National Origin / MAGNA SIRGAS, as follows:
To consult the ANM January 2023 Compliance Report, the pronouncement on the reopening of Anna Minería, the Minambiente Circular and the ANM Circular, click on the following links:
Circular No. SG - 40002023E4000013
Circular No. 001
Anna Minería reopening