Mining Reforms 2023 - Decree by which by which various provisions of the Mexican Mining Law (and others) are amended, added and repealed

Last updated: 10 December 2023

In 2023, the Mexican Congress passed a set of legislative amendments that together constitute a significant reform of the mining sector. The amendments revise the Mining Law, National Waters Law, General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA) and General Law for the Prevention and Integral Handling of Wastes (LGPGIR).
Mining Law Reforms

  • Mining concessions are shortened from 50 years to 30 years and are awarded through a public bidding process with the precondition of securing all necessary environmental, social and labour permits. Concessions are now granted for specific minerals, rather than for all mineral deposits in a given area. Mining is no longer considered a preferential activity, meaning that title holders are not entitled to land access and superficial rights in areas adjacent to the concession. 
  • The reform also grants the Ministry of Economy power to approve any transfer of concessions between entities, as well as to grant permanent mining concessions to public agencies. Additional obligations are imposed on concession holders in regard to prior consultation and with the public and indigenous communities. Title holders must pay at least 5% of net profits to adjacent and affected indigenous communities. 
  • Concessions may be cancelled for a number of ecological concerns and for failing to inform the Ministry of Economy about any accident that puts the safety of people or the environment at risk. A number of new mining offenses are established, including those that may hold title holders and personnel criminally liable. The legal term for the Ministry of Economy to enforce compliance and impose penalties is extended from five to ten years. 

National Waters Law Reforms

  • The amendments create a definition for "industrial water" as "underground water that must be extracted to conduct construction works and mining exploration and exploitation." The volume of industrial water included in a concession may be reduced by the relevant water authority where it threatens the availability of water for human and domestic consumption.

LGEEPA Reforms

  • Mining concessions may no longer be granted in natural protected areas. Concession titleholders must comply with environmental regulations through a Restoration, Closure, and Post-Closure Program. 

LGPGIR Reforms

  • The legislation is revised to include separate definitions for mining and metallurgical waste and to include the management of both as one of its key objectives. Under the guarantee of responsibility for mining and metallurgical waste, concession holders have permanent and nontransferable liability for the waste generated through mining activities. 

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