Coordinated Audit on Mining Environmental Liabilities

Communities at Risk

Continental audit warns of almost no management of mining environmental liabilities in Latin America




of OLACEFS, with the support of GIZ,
brought together 14 audit entities from 12 countries in the region to determine whether governments have governance and mechanisms for comprehensive management of these wastes. (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Province of Buenos Aires (subnational), State of Bahia (subnational)


They are “paralyzed, inactive or abandoned mining operations and facilities, including their deposits and waste, that constitute

a potential permanent risk, current and future, to the life, health and safety of persons and the environment”

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Disasters associated with landslides, mass movement,

Development of diseases associated with the presence of toxic elements,
such as heavy metals and particulate matter.

Contamination of soils, air, drinking water sources and crops.

Affectation of communities, damage to cognitive skills, loss of possibilities
of development, limitation of access to healthy natural resources. In many cases they are close to or immersed in urban centers and towns, or close to water sources.


Invisible problem

No registry, risk assessment, or prioritization of treatment or remediation of Mining Environmental Liabilities in the region.

There are no public policies to correct the problem

In general, the region lacks a legal framework and regulatory definitions around the MELs.

No se hacen cargo de PAM existentes

Except in Peru, Ecuador and Mexico, where there are corrective actions, public policies and existing instruments are aimed at the prevention of new MELs, but they do not take charge of the existing ones.

No resources

Except Peru, which provides specific budgets for the remediation of MELs, no other country in Latin America has financial instruments aimed at the management of these liabilities.

Vulnerable population the most affected

A lack of national strategies was detected on the management of contingencies, emergencies or disasters related to the MELs. The latter accentuates the problem in vulnerable sectors.

Lack of Citizen Participation

The Mechanisms of Citizen Participation are generally weak and insufficient. People can't access quality information or propose solutions.

No effective, efficient or cost-effective action

There are general instruments to structure an initial management, but they are not used.

Complex implementation of Agenda 2030

States do not have their own indicators that establish the link between the goals of the Agenda with the reality or with the needs of the territories in relation to the MELs.

No Indicators or parameters

on the levels of recovery from environmental conditions and tolerable risk.


to consolidate the concept of MELs and thus design and coordinate comprehensive and coordinated actions to manage the mitigation or elimination of their significant risks.

and national or local strategies, assigning roles, responsibilities and medium- and long-term goals. In turn, measures must be included for the management of contingencies, emergencies or disasters related to structural or physicochemical conditions the of the MELs.

mechanisms aimed at the follow-up and evaluation of the SDGs, through the establishment of specific and local indicators, associated with the problems of Territories and Communities

regulations for MEL management, defining regeneration standards for the environmental components impacted.

of the MELs present in the territories, analyzing their risks on a scientific basis and creating lists on the urgent situations to be addressed. Along with this, implement action plans for risk-affected communities, considering mechanisms for following up on people’s health.

promoting the reuse of the MELs, considering their characteristics and the social and economic benefits they produce.

necessary to finance initiatives for the management of MELs.

to environmental data held by governments, communicating the existing risks to nearby communities directly and actively, facilitating processes of citizen participation that contribute to the solution of these problems.

The audit, carried out between 2019 and 2021, is also linked to: