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Economic Principles and Concepts of Chilean Mining Legislation: Towards a Deepening of the Model

Juan Paulo Bambach, Ricardo Irarrázabal S., International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development and Investment (2009)

There is no doubt that the legislators of the Organic Law of Mining Concessions and of the Mining Code opted to leave on record in these bodies of norms the principles and concepts of the economic system of social market economy. In effect, the same Technical, Report of the Constitutional Organic Law on mining concessions, prepared in 1981 by the Minister of mines of the period, José Piñera, announced a “mining modernization” “through the establishment of rational and coherent rules of the game” thus defining a mining policy “that integrates the sector to the social market economy scheme1”

The above was not an easy task, since such paradigm had to cohabit with a series of definitions at constitutional level that contradicted the principles of social market economy and rather followed the statistic paradigm as economic model, such as absolute, exclusive, inalienable and imperative domain of the mines by the State and the existence of the Chilean state copper company CODELCO, which is obviously contradictory with the principle of subsidiarity. Now well, in a very intelligent way, those who drafted the bodies of norms mentioned finally achieved that the principles of social market economy should prevail and that these principles were manifested in a series of economic concepts contained in the different provisions both of the Organic Law of Mining Concessions and in th