Articles 66 and 68 of the 1993 Peruvian Constitution establish the legal framework for the use of natural resources. The Constitution classifies natural resources into renewable resources and non-renewable resources. The Constitution also establishes that the conditions for the use of natural resources by private companies and individuals shall be established by "Ley Orgánica" (this is the term used for laws that have to be passed by one vote more than 50% of the total members of Congress). Law on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (Ley Organica para el Aprovechamiento Sostenible de los Recursos Naturales, Law 26821), enacted on June 26th 1997, fulfilled such role.
Article 3 of Law 26821 broadly defines natural resources as any component of nature which have a current or potential market value, and which can be utilized by people in order to fulfill their needs. Among others, this law addresses: surface or underground water; the ground, the underground, land as used for agriculture, forestry or protection; biological diversity: such as flora and fauna species, microorganisms, genetic resources, and ecosystems; hydrocarbon resources, hydroenergetic resources, wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy, and alike; the atmosphere and the radio-electric spectrum; and minerals. Natural landscape is also considered a natural resource, as far as it can be subject to economic use.
Law 26821 also created the concept of "free-access resources". This is a benefit granted to indigenous people (under Peruvian Law, communities located in the jungle are called "native communities", and the ones located in the highlands and the coast are called "peasant communities"). Indigenous people may take advantage, for survival and traditional ritual purposes, of the natural resources located within or adjacent to their areas. The use of such natural resources is not exclusive, however, it shall not affect third parties rights.
Article 954 of the Civil Code, establishes that any real estate right includes title to the corresponding subsurface and over the airspace, as long as it is useful to its owner. However, Article 954 makes it clear that such real estate property rights to subsurface do not include rights to natural resources or archeological remains existing in such an area.
Under Peruvian law, and according to Article 955 of the Civil Code, the subsurface and the airspace may be owned by a third party.