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Find Lawyers in Chile for Natural Resources Law

Practice Area Overview

The natural resources practice area focuses on the use and management of natural resources. Generally the use of resources such as minerals or water requires a title, in the form of a concession granted by the national government. Therefore, on the one hand, the practice concerns with the application process for the granting of a concession for the use of natural resources. A strong practice must include assessment of environmental aspects of the project, to determine whether environmental permits or other administrative permits are applicable.

Similarly, the practice area comprises litigation pertaining water and mining concessions, and related environmental permits, both before the general court (usually in cases of opposition to the granting of the concession or motions for its annulment) or the special environmental court (in cases related to applicable environmental permits).

Additionally, the exercise of these concessions requires access to surface land. Thus, natural resources lawyers must provide advice on land use issues which may arise when the owner of the surface land is a different person or entity. Chilean legislation provides easements which may be imposed on the land owner, in favor of the concession holder. Although the strength of these easements remained uncontested for quite some time, recent rulings that limit their breadth pose new challenges for developers. Access becomes particularly relevant when surface land falls under some category of protection that stems from environmental or cultural attributes, and especially if it belongs to indigenous communities.

Furthermore, natural resources practice areas are preparing to anticipate changes related to two bills currently being discussed in congress. The first is a major amendment to the water code that could have particular influence on mining. The second is the introduction of a law designed to safeguard glaciers, which would prohibit certain activities that could have an impact on these water reservoirs.  

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Related Practice Areas: Energy Law, Environmental Law, Water Law
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