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Decree Law No. 30/2021

Publication: Republic Diary No. 89/2021, Series I of 2021-05-07
  • Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 30/2021
  • Pages: 4 - 52

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law regulates the basic law on geological resources with regard to mineral deposits.

Mineral deposits are occurrences of economic interest which can be used to obtain metals, for example. They are also, for example, coal, asbestos, talc, among others.

This decree-law also foresees that it will be possible to re-exploit economically pre-existing and deactivated exploitations.

What is going to change? Public participation

All people, including associations representing environmental, economic, social and cultural interests, participate in all procedures prior to the award of rights to disclosure and use geological resources.

Municipalities and other entities that by force of sectorial legislation must be consulted are also compulsorily consulted.

The Directorate-General for Energy and Geology (DGEG) is the entity responsible for preparing these procedures.

The opening of public participation and its duration are established by the DGEG on the Participa.pt portal.

Disclosure of geological resources

The activity of disclosure of geological resources is carried out by the State, and private parties may exercise this activity by granting private use rights through an administrative contract.

The activities of disclosure of geological resources are Prior Assessment, Prospecting and Research and Experimental Exploitation, with increasing degrees of complexity.

The granting of disclosure rights is done at the request of the interested party.

In the case of Prospection and Research, the State may resort to tender procedures for the allocation of these rights in a more efficient and competitive manner.

Protected areas, areas classified under an international law instrument and areas included in the Natura 2000 Network, among others, are excluded from these bids whenever possible.

Exploitation award

The exploitation of geological resources is awarded to the holder of prior assessment, prospecting and research or experimental exploitation rights that have revealed them.

The municipalities and respective populations participate in the management of mineral deposits, since their disclosure and exploitation takes place within the territory.

The environmental impact assessment authority must be consulted to determine whether this procedure is necessary. There will be a post-Environmental Impact Assessment phase in cases where there has been such an assessment.

The exploitation of the resource may be accompanied by a monitoring committee.

This committee includes:

    • local or regional associations promoting environmental protection, economic development and social development
    • representatives of the municipalities and parishes concerned

Its members will have access to the necessary information and may also interact with the relevant entities.

A closure plan is established from the beginning of the operation, which, in addition to the technical measures for closing the operation, contains measures to minimise the social and economic impacts resulting from the end of this activity.

The registered office of the concessionaire must be located in one of the municipalities covered, ensuring the distribution of taxes due on income generated, and the obligation of the existence of a social responsibility plan for the concessionary.

The certification of the mining plan by the competent authorities is required. Metallic mineral deposits may only be exploited when the best practices and equipment are adopted, enhancing material efficiency and the least impact on the environment.

The competent entities, namely in the area of the environment, nature conservation, spatial planning and cultural heritage, participate in the entire process of granting private rights, monitor the prospection and research or exploration work.


DGEG is responsible for monitoring and supervising the activities regulated by this decree-law.

It shall issue the appropriate guidelines to ensure compliance with the rules of safety, economy of exploitation, good use of resources and environmental protection.

The proceeds from the fines imposed for the practice of the administrative offences provided for shall be distributed as follows:

    • 60% to the State;
    • 10% to the entity issuing the administrative offence;
    • 30% to the DGEG.
Revenue sharing

The operating costs will now be shared between the State and the municipalities.

The exploitation assets may be reverted to the municipalities, as well as the use of assets and infrastructures throughout the exploitation itself.

What advantages does it bring?

This decree-law ensures the competitiveness of the extractive sector and materialises the public policy objectives of energy transition.

It also guarantees environmental, economic and social sustainability in the extraction activity of the State's public domain resources.

It reinforces the availability of information and the public participation and intervention of municipalities in the process, ensuring greater transparency of administrative procedures.

When does it enter into force?

This decree-law enters into force on 8 May 2021.

Original Version


  • Legal translator is the translation of texts within the field of law


Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.