The Mining Industry in the United Arab Emirates
The mining industry has for centuries been the driving force behind economies. Whether it is the mining of minerals or metals or precious stones, each mining industry plays a crucial role in the economic activities of many states globally. This principle is no different from the United Arab Emirates, and although the region's economic uprising was mostly dependent on the finding of oil, the mining industry in the region is fast growing and becoming a highly profitable contributor to the country's GDP. In the United Arab Emirates, the list of minerals mined in the area is lengthy and ranges from copper and gypsum mines to the extraction of metals and precious stones. With the boom in the technological advancements in the UAE, the establishment took place, of the fact that the country applies the most advanced technologies and the best scientific methods in the mining industry. These methods have ultimately confirmed the variety and abundance of minerals available in many of the different Emirates.
The industry in the country is attracting many international companies who are successfully investing in this economic sector. This industry not only includes the process of mining the minerals but as it states that in the UAE the exports of products of mining as both raw materials and as finished goods is steadily increasing. The infrastructure within the UAE is a haven for the mining industry with port facilities and land transport facilities functioning optimally. For this Article and under the UAE legislation, the utilization of the acts of quarrying and mining will be interchangeable.
There are limited laws specific to any of the Emirates regulating mining in the United Arab Emirates; the Federal Laws governing all mining and quarrying activities in the region as a whole. These regulations include:
Federal Environment Law;
- Federal Cabinet Resolution Number 20 of 2008 (Quarries and Crushers Regulations);
- Federal Ministerial Resolution Number 492 of 2008 (Quarries and Crushers Environmental Guidelines);
- Federal Ministerial Resolution Number 110 of 2010 (Quarries and Crushers Regulations).
- When an entity within the UAE wishes to carry out mining activities within the region, such an object must obtain an environmental license from the relevant local authority. Concerning this license, there are specific guidelines to which these entities must comply. In addition to the instructions, the regulation also provides for the application of penalties in the event of any breach. The obligations provided for by the guidelines and the determination by specific circumstances and facts of each case, but some of these include:
- Article 15 of Federal Cabinet Resolution Number 20 of 2008, this piece of legislation states that any person or entity, by act or omission, causes damage to the environment; as a result of violating the provisions of this resolution shall have the responsibility to pay all necessary costs for the repairing or eliminating the damages and any consequential indemnities.
- Article 16 of Federal Cabinet Resolution Number 20 of 2008, this piece of legislation further clarifies the indemnification of the environmental damage as per Article 15 to include, injuries that affect the environment itself and prevent or reduce the lawful use thereof, temporarily or permanently, or impair its economic or aesthetic value;
- Federal Ministerial Resolution Number 110 of 2010, this piece of legislation provides for the quarry rehabilitation or restoration process. Article 13 of this Law provides that quarry operators must perform progressive improvement as they extract their sites. This provision entails that reconstruction shall be done sequentially within a reasonable time after extraction of quarry resources is complete. As the removal of one area of the pit or quarry, completion of rehabilitation must be in the areas where the quarry reserves have been stopped or exhausted. It further provides how such reconstruction is beneficial:
- It reduces the open spaces within a pit/quarry;
- It reduces potential soil erosion; and
- It reduces double-handling or soil/waste materials.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.