A report from the National Audit Office (AGN, for its acronym in Spanish) stated that "the national legislation does not meet the definition of environmental liabilities" and there is no legislation on how to remedy the specific impact of mining on ecosystems.
The work, which was approved last year and analyzed critical areas agreed with other control agencies, such as the Comptrollers of Paraguay and Peru, explained that "according to constitutional guidelines, a minimum budget rule has not been developed to regulate prevention, Identification, treatment and/or remediation of mining environmental liabilities."
Regarding the Constitution, the Audit noted that the 1994 reform consecrated the Nation as responsible for ensuring that all inhabitants have "the right to a healthy, balanced and fit for development", leaving the provinces the domain Originating from the natural resources of its territory. And he concluded that, with this situation, a "duplicity of functions" was created that does not allow the coordination of environmental conservation.
In fact, the technicians remarked that, in general terms, "there should exist, not only a common vision of the liabilities and prior control, but also an adequate coordination with regard to the conservation of natural resources."
And, specifically in the case of mining, they affirmed that there is "an inadequate articulation between the general environmental norms and the sectorial ones, which does not allow the treatment of conflicts by contamination of sites from a systemic aspect."
Although the Mining Code is of federal scope and includes legislation on mine closure, "it does not provide all the tools to guarantee the environmental composition of mining activity", and it is the provinces that, in the field of their jurisdiction, determine who will be the authority to apply the rules in force in the matter.
In its survey, AGN took up two previous reports: one was on the Environmental Management program (GEAMIN, for its acronym in Spanish), while the other analyzed how the Preventive Mining Environmental System was applied in the preservation of the Dionisio Water Site.
To emphasize the normative question, the Audit states that "although the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development created the Program for Management of Contaminated Sites (PROSICO), its scope does not include mining activity, which remains in the orbit of the former Secretary of Mining ", and no evidence of articulation between the two institutions was found either.
This element becomes relevant if one takes into account that the AGN made its report on data for 2014 and 2015, when, with the change of administration, Mining went from Secretariat - within the Ministry of Planning - to take ministerial rank, as well as the area of environment.
And related to this, the Audit report states that "there was no evidence that the substantive dependencies of the former Secretary of Mining (SM) were in place. The authorities were not designated and the personnel assigned to the units had functions in other areas of the MS or no longer belonged to the agency. It has not been possible to verify the existence of space or physical resources assigned to these dependencies."
On the other hand, the Watchdog examined the Preventive Mining Environmental System (SAMP) and noted that "according to the documentation provided, only compliance with the actions attributed to the Ministry of Mining until 2003 is verified; The complementary rules (of that system) were not updated and there is no evidence that the Federal Mining Council (COFEMIN) has been convened" to do that task.
Lastly, the technicians were not able to obtain evidence on whether the new Ministry of Energy and Mining adequately coordinates the implementation of the environmental controls envisaged in the SAMP.
With regard to resource management, the report detected a "low budget execution of the Environmental Environmental Management program (GEAMIN) measured in terms of original planning and subsequent modification." And that in the plans of expenses corresponding to the time in which the area was under the orbit of Federal Planning, there were no defined goals or indicators of results.
A New Communication
The striking fact of this report, which was even mentioned at the meeting of the College of Auditors in which it was approved, is that it was selected for the AGN's communication team to "translate" it into a brief explanatory video.