On January 16, 2015, the National Department of Mineral Production ("DNPM") issued Ordinance No. 36, bringing amendments to the Regulatory Mining Rules (Normas Reguladoras da Mineração), in particular to NRM 04 – Underground Mining (access shafts) and NRM 06 – Ventilation. It is important to note that, even though the ordinance has entered into force on the same date of its publication, the DNPM set forth a 90 days term for NRM 04 – Underground Mining, and a 30 days term for NRM 06 – Ventilation, for companies to adapt and comply with the new provisions.
The new ordinance aims to secure revised safety standards to underground access shafts and ventilation conditions, in order to protect surface owners, neighboring structures, nearby industrial activities and the environment, as well as to ensure better health conditions and workplace safety.
With respect to the amendments to NRM 04 – Underground Mining, it is worth highlighting the new rules applicable to rock removal with explosives and/or the used of continuous digging equipment, as well as the requirements for companies to produce a study on the impacts of explosives and digging impacts to the surface, and an Acknowledgment Term (Termo de Conhecimento) to be submitted to the surface owners regarding the duration of the exploitation progress, detonation schedules and the measures to minimize the discomfort caused by the mining activities.
In relation to NRM 06 – Ventilation, its rules have been modified in order to ensure, through a mechanical ventilation system, the air supply in breathable conditions, continuous air renewal, efficient dilution of inflammable or harmful gases and workplace dusts, as well as the appropriate temperature and humidity for human work. Such system must be operated and maintained regularly and continuously, with at least one third of the system functioning during days in which there is no operation, except for mines that emanate harmful gases, which should have their ventilation systems fully operational.
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