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An assessment of the NRM-20 mine closure regulation in Brazil

Paper from the Proceedings of Mine Closure Solutions 2014 conference held in Ouro Preto, Brazil, April 26-30, 2014. (downloadable PDF).

Authors: Jardel C. Dias, DNPM – National Department of Mineral Production, Brazil; Hernani M. Lima and José Cruz C. Flores, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Brazil

Published by InfoMine Inc. 2014.
ISBN: 978-0-9917905-4-8


Throughout the history of mining, inadequate closure of mines and abandoned mining areas has caused environmental liability and social and economic impacts. The management of these environmental liabilities and impacts, some of which have become perpetual, pose serious challenges for various spheres of government, the mining industry, and local communities. In Brazil, many mines are in the process of exhausting their economically exploitable reserves, inevitably resulting in the decommissioning of the respective mining projects. Concern over the closure of mines is still new and is assuming increasing importance in the present scenario of environmental, social, and economic demands. Controlled closure of a mine is still a novelty in Brazil, as only a small number of mines have actually been decommissioned in the country. The state of Minas Gerais has great relevance in the national production of minerals, with approximately half of Brazilian mineral production occurring within the state. This state is home to the Quadrilátero Ferrífero, one of the most important mining regions of Brazil because of its contribution to the country’s mining sector. With the goal of regulating mine closure issues, the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM) drafted the Rules Regulating Mining (NRM) and established the administrative and operational procedures for mine closure (NRM-20). Under this standard, the mine closure plan must be contemplated in the plan of economic exploitation (PAE) and must be submitted with the application for mining rights upon approval by DNPM. NRM-20 specifies which instruments must be presented in the mine closure plan. This study assesses the closure situations of the major mines located in the region of Quadrilátero Ferrífero to analyze the mining processes in the DNPM office in Minas Gerais, and discusses the gaps identified in NRM-20 and in the procedures DNPM has adopted to regulate mine closure in Brazil.

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