Due to the reduction to the minimum necessary staff that works in mining operations and, consequently, to the reduction of their capacity to react in the event of incidents or operational accidents, by means of Exempt Resolution No. 945 of the National Geology and Mining Service (“Sernageomin”) a guide for preparing contingency plans with measures to prevent these risks was approved.
These plans do not need to be approved by the Sernageomin but must be maintained and disclosed to the respective personnel, in order to comply with mining safety regulations. Notwithstanding this, companies must keep Sernageomin informed in this regard as it may inspect them.
Purpose of the Guide
It provides guidelines and guidance to mining companies for the preparation of plans to prevent and control unplanned but foreseeable events, and description of their capacity and immediate response activities to mitigate the damages caused and respond to emergencies in a timely and effective manner.
This guide only applies in the case of personnel reductions, partial production detentions or process slowdowns for a period limited to contingencies that do not require the application of a temporary closure plan, in accordance with Law No. 20,551, on Closure of Mining Sites and Facilities. It does not include stoppages involving the complete cessation of all operations or of the main facilities of a site.
It applies to the owners of sites and facilities of the extractive mining industry, linked to the extraction of metallic and non-metallic resources over 5,000 tons per month of mineral extraction and/or processing, in addition to the extraction of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons, regardless of its magnitude. However, companies whose mining operations are subject to Title XV of the Mining Safety Regulations may also be included.
Preparation of the contingency plan for staff reductions, production detentions and/or slowdown of operations
Plans must have the following elements or sections:
- Identification of essential processes and operations of the mining site
- Identification of risk and danger of the essential processes and operations of the mining site
- Analysis and evaluation of existing risks in essential processes
- Risk treatment
- Monitoring and review
Emergency or control measures after an unwanted event
The contingency plan must include those emergency procedures which are necessary to respond in the event of an incident, in addition to the sufficient human, material and financial resources to execute them. In the event of any fatal, serious or high-risk potential event, the company is obliged to inform Sernageomin within the following 24 hours.