The Federal Government, through Law n. 14.066/2020, reformed the National Policy on Dam Safety (PNSB, in the Portuguese acronym), prohibiting the use of upstream tailing dams in mining operations and implementing new safety measures. The new law seeks to improve regulatory quality and the responsibility of mining enterprises.

Law n. 14.066/2020 updated the National Policy on Dam Safety (PNSB, in the Portuguese acronym) in order to prevent future disasters such as the tailing dam collapses of Mariana (2015) and Brumadinho (2019). Both disasters were related to the use of the upstream tailing dam model, which is less expensive and occupies a smaller area.

The use of the upstream tailing model was prohibited by the new law, and all existing operations under the model must be discontinued by February 25, 2022. Technical difficulties regarding the discontinuation must be addressed with the National Mining Agency (ANM).

The new safety measures include fines of up to one billion Brazilian Reais (BRL) in case of disasters caused by dam collapses, mandatory constitution of emergency action plans for all mining enterprises and provisions to immediately notify appropriate authorities in case of altering safety conditions that might provoke accidents.

The new legislation aims at improving regulatory quality regarding dam safety, especially that related to mining operations.