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Licencias ambientales, estudio comparado países

Licencias ambientales, estudio comparado países

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MiningandSustainableDevelopmentinColombia:AComparativeAnalysisofEnvironmentalImpactAssessmentProcessesKathleenHurley,MS,MAmkathleenhurley@gmail.com
SummaryandRecommendations
PresidentSantosnamedminingasoneofthelocomotivesfortheeconomicdevelopmentofColombia,howeversustainabledevelopmentisakeycomponentoftheColombianconstitution.Mininginanyformimpactsland,biodiversity,andwaterresources.Inordertoreconciletheextractionofnon-renewableresources,suchasgoldandcoal,withthecoreconceptsofsustainabledevelopment,Colombiamuststrategicallyrevieweachprojectinthecontextofwaterforconsumptionandforhydroelectricuse,biodiversityandimportantecosystems,agricultureandpopulationcentersandmineralresourcesamongotherfactos.ManyofColombia’sminesarelocatedinareasofhighprecipitationandseismicactivity;theseconditionsrequiregreatertechnicalrigorinevaluationofanynewminingprojectforadequatecontrolofimpoundmentlagoons,wastewatermanagement,andacidminedrainage.ExcellentenvironmentalprotectionlawsexistinColombia,butenvironmentalgovernanceisgenerallyweak.TheMinistryofEnvironmentandSustainableDevelopment,responsibleforsettingenvironmentalpolicy,lacksapresenceoutsideofthecapital.DevelopingagreaterpresencethroughoutthecountryincollaborationwiththeCorporacionesAutonomasRegionales(CARS)isessentialtofortifyenvironmentalgovernanceinthecountry.EnvironmentalgovernancerelatedtominingisnotaproblemexclusivetoColombia;itexiststhroughoutLatinAmericaandtheworld.Toseriouslyevaluatenewminingprojects,severalstepsmustbeimplemented.
1
 
Strengthentherigoroftheenvironmentalimpactassessment;
 
Improvetransparencyintheprocess;
 
Improvethecapacityoftechnicalpersonnelatalllevelsofauthority;
 
Implementacrediblepublicparticipationprocess;
 
Developandenforceameaningfulprogramforcleanupandmaintenanceduringandaftermineclosure.Toalignminingprojectswiththeprinciplesofsustainabledevelopment,rigorousevaluationofnewprojectsfromtheirinceptiontomineclosureisessential.Theenvironmentalpermittingprocessprovidesanopportunitytobetteralignminingwithsustainabilitybecausethepurposeofpermittingis“toprotecthumanhealthandtheenvironmentbydefining(inatransparent,accountablemanner)legallybindingrequirementsforindividualsourcesofsignificantenvironmentalimpact.”
2
Arobustandtransparentenvironmentalpermittingprocessisessentialtominimizetheenvironmentalimpactofindustry,supportcompliancewithdomesticlaw,andtopromote
1
RossiA.2012.AmbienteymineríaenAméricaLatina:¿Problema,dilemmauoportunidad?Hydria41:20-23.Junio2012
.
2
OECD.2007.GuidingPrinciplesofEffectiveEnvironmentalPermittingSystems.Paris,France.

 
innovation.AccordingtotheOECD,modernpermittingsystemsaretransparent,relyuponbroadpublicparticipation,andtheregulatorshavediscretionarypower.ManycountrieswithintheOECDutilizeanintegratedpermittingprocesstoconsidertheindividualandcumulativeimpactsofemissionstoair,water,andlandaswellasotherenvironmentalimpacts.Regulatorssetpermitconditionstoachievethebestpossibleprotectionoftheenvironmentoverall.ThisanalysisevaluatestheenvironmentalimpactassessmentprocessforfourothermajorgoldandcoalproducingcountriesasacomparativeanalysistoColombia’sprocess.Basedonthisevaluation,thekeyconsiderationsforimprovingColombia’senvironmentalpermittingprocessarethefollowing:
 
InAustraliaandtheUnitedStates,multipleagenciesconsultonevaluationofproposedprojects;eachagencyhasdiscretionaryauthority.Colombialacksaprocessof
obligatoryandclearconsultation
amongauthoritiesfornewminingprojectapproval.
 
Timeframe
forapprovalofnewminingprojectsrangesfrom1.5yearstosevenyears,inthecountriesevaluated.Miningprojectsarecomplexandhavelong-termimpacts,thusregulatorsneedanadequateamountoftimetoreviewdocumentationandthesetimeframesshouldbeclearlycommunicatedtotheprojectapplicants.
 
WithoverhalfthelandareainColombiaavailableforminingdevelopment,
integratedplanning
usinggeographicinformationsystems(GIS)isessentialtoproperlyevaluateaproject’sproximitytootherminingdevelopmentaswellasidentificationofoverlapamongagriculture,miningandenergy,environment,waterresources,populationcenters,biodiversityhotspots,nationalparksorbufferzones.Thereisanurgentneedtodevelopanationalstrategyforassessmentofminingprojects,notjustprohibitionofmininginecologicallysensitiveareas(e.g.,paramo),butrelatedtootherlanduses.
 
Transparency
and
public
involvement 
arekeytoanyenvironmentalimpactassessmentprocess,publicinvolvementandconsultationwithinColombia’sEIAprocessremainsweak.Informationavailabletothepublicthroughpublicmeetings,distributionofdocuments,theInternet,andothers.Stakeholderinputshouldbesoughtatregularintervalsthroughoutthepermittingprocess.
 
Cleartimelines
foreachstageofthepermittingprocess
.
Thiswillreducecostsfortheapplicantsandimproveaccountabilityandresponsivenessoftherelevantgovernmentagencies.
 
GeneralSummaryofEIAProcesses
CountryAveragetimefornewminingpermitExplorationPermitrequired?(Y/N)MiningDevelopmentPermitrequired?(Y/N)#Agencies/MinistriesinvolvedinEIAprocessEstablishedEIAProcess?(Y/N)
ColombiaMiningpermitbanineffectuntilAugust2012Yes(permit)Yes(license)DependsonsizeofprojectYes,butlacksrigor.USA3-7yearsYesYes12YesAustralia22.5monthsYesYes10YesSouthAfrica1yearminimumYes,integratedintominingpermitprocessYes7Yes,butlacksrigor.IndonesiaunknownunknownYesunknownYes,butlacksrigorandlawsfrequentlychange
UnitedStatesofAmerica:PermittingProcess
TheUnitedStatesofAmerica(USA)ranksastheworld’sthirdhighestgoldproducingcountry
3
andtheworld’ssecondlargestcoalproducer.
4
TheUSAranksthirdinglobalexportsofcoal,whileColombiaranksastheworld’sfourthlargestcoalexporter.Inaddition,theUSAisamegadiversecountry;assuch,theregulatorysystemwithintheUSAisausefulreferencepointwhenanalyzingthepermittingprocessfornewminingprojectswithinColombia.ThepermittingprocessintheUSAisacomplex,multi-phaseregulatoryprocess.TheaveragetimetoapproveanewmineintheUSAissevenyears;thelengthoftimeis
3
Bloomberg2011,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/top-10-gold-producing-countries-in-2011-table-.html,accessedJuly17,2012
4
WorldCoalAssociation,http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/
 
,accessedJuly20,2012

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