On 1 December 2022, mining canons were increased through the enactment of the General Budget Law of the National Administration for 2023, specifically by the amendment of articles 31, 213, 215, 219 and 221 of the Mining Code. These canons had not been modified since 2014.
The canon increases will take effect from the first half of 2023. As an example, in the case of lithium, tenements of up to 100 hectares will pay ARS 19,000 per year, where previously they paid ARS 3,200 per year. It is also established that the canons will no longer be adjusted by law but by resolution of the Secretary of Energy based on the inter-annual variation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The adjustments will also imply a sharp increase in the minimum investment plans required to the mining rights holders under the Mining Code (art. 217), given that the value of the canon is used as a parameter to calculate the amount of such plans. In the case of lithium, for example, the basis for the calculation will be ARS 19,000 x number of tenements x 300.
The canon is the amount that holders of mining rights pay per unit of measurement in respect of the areas they own (tenements), being one of the essential obligations for maintaining title to them (“amparo“). It is payable in advance and in equal parts in two semesters, due on 30 June and 31 December of each year.
The canon also determines the amount of the minimum investments required from the holders of mining rights (art. 217 of the Mining Code), since the value of the canon is used to calculate them.
The following are the main amendments to the articles of the Mining Code introduced by the General Budget Law of the National Administration for 2023:
- Article 31: The canon per square kilometer for exploration permits with aircraft is increased from ARS 4 to ARS 24. This implies an increase of 600% in the value of this canon.
- Article 213: The annual canon for mine ownership (paid by concessionaires to the Nation and the provinces) will be updated using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and the Secretariat of Mining (or the body that replaces it) will be in charge of issuing the resolutions that make these updates effective.
- Article 215: The canon for mine ownership is modified and fixed as follows (to be updated by applying the CPI mentioned above):
- For substances of the first category (metalliferous, etc.) and others, the fee increases from ARS 320 to ARS 1,900 per belonging or unit of measurement. This implies an increase of 593.75% in the value of this canon.
It should be remembered that most of metalliferous and lithium (100 hectares of disseminated mineral properties) were already paying canon for a multiple of 10, so the canon went from ARS 3,200 to ARS 19,000.
- For substances of the second category listed in article 4 (metalliferous sands, salt and metals not included in the first category, among others) with the exception of those in paragraph b), the fee goes from ARS 160 to ARS 960 per property. This implies an increase of 600% in the value of this canon.
- For provisional concessions for the exploration or prospecting of substances of the first and second category, whatever the duration, the fee shall increase from ARS 1,600 to ARS 9,680 per unit of measurement or fraction, according to the dimensions fixed in Article 29 of the Code. This implies an increase of 605% in the value of this canon.
4. Article 219: The surcharge applied to mine rescues for non-payment of the mining canon is increased from 20% to 100%.
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