November 28, 2017 / 8:09 PM / a year ago

Brazil Senate approves creation of mining regulatory agency

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill creating an autonomous regulatory agency for the mining sector, a move aimed at accelerating slow licensing approvals in the country.

The bill will return to President Michel Temer for a signature, creating a permanent law based on a temporary decree that is part of his efforts to open several sectors of Brazil’s recovering economy.

The Senate approved the bill as amended by the lower house to eliminate a new tax on miners that would have supported the agency’s operations while increasing its staff. The agency, known as ANM, will replace current regulator DNPM.

Congress has yet to approve a separate measure to streamline the mining code, which appeared likely to expire at midnight without approval, when Temer’s temporary decrees expire.

Last week, Congress passed a related proposal to raise mining royalties as part of the same reform agenda.

While the higher royalties met with criticism from Brazilian miner Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore producer, proponents argued that more efficient regulation under a new agency and mining code would offset higher taxes.

Vale called on Temer to veto parts of the bill raising mining royalties, saying Congress had diverged too far from his original decree, but praised the creation of the regulator.

Temer will have 15 days to sign or veto the bill after it arrives at the presidential palace.

Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Susan Thomas and David Gregorio

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