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  • Population, mn: 7.6
  • GDP, US$bn: 36.3
  • GDP per capita, US$: 5,146.8
  • Inflation, CPI ave: -0.8
  • Budget Balance, % of GDP: -3.4
  • FX, LCY/US$: 0.7
  • Mining GVA, US$bn: 1.1
Regulatory Risk Rating
Score: 47
Substantial Risk
The Mining Code in Jordan is short, simple and sweet, quaintly obligating employers to provide "a restaurant in which workers have their main meals," wisely prohibiting "smoking...inside the walled area of the explosives store" and, rather archaically, prohibiting females from being "at all employed in mining activities". For the most part, it provides an "Anglo-Saxon" rudimentary regime within which to operate and avoids most of the problematic elements of those modern "cleverly-drafted" codes that give far too much though to all the benefits that a State might seek from the sector.

Corruption Potential Index

Score: 40
Very High Corruption Potential

Corruption Risk Index

Score: 39
Very High Corruption Risk

Regulatory Risk Rating

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Environmental Overview Commentary plus sign



Jordan, officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Israel. The climate is hot and dry in the summer with cool winters and is influenced by the subtropical aridity of the Arabian Desert and the subtropical humidity of the eastern Mediterranean area. Excluding the Rift Valley the country is elevated 300 metres above sea level. The country faces many environmental challenges, including a rapidly expanding population, industrial pollution, wildlife hunting and habitat loss due to development. In addition, the country’s severe shortage of water has led to the draining of underwater aquifers and damage to the Azraq Oasis. The Arabian oryx and Nubian ibex are endangered species, while the dorcas gazelle, dugong, Eurasian otter, Geoffroy’s bat, lesser horseshoe bat and long-fingered bat are considered vulnerable species.


The principal law concerning the environment in Jordan is the Environmental Protection Law (No. 52 of 2006). Article 4 of the law provides that the Ministry of the Environment is obligated to establish programs necessary to achieve “Sustainable Development” of projects, including mining projects (Art. 4D). “Sustainable Development” is defined as “development that utilizes natural resources in a manner that maintains them for future generations and protects environmental integration and does not cause the deterioration of the Elements and components of the ecosystems and do not upset the balance thereof” (Art. 2). Article 13 provides that every corporation that conducts activities that negatively impact the environment is obligated to prepare an environmental impact assessment report for its project and submit such report to the Ministry to permit a decision on the project.


Pursuant to Article 4B of the EIA Regulation, an environment approval is required for any project identified in Annex 2 (a Category 1 Project) or 3 (a Category 2 Project); Annex 2 includes a project involving the extractive or mining industries. A Technical Committee consisting of members from several ministries, including planning, environment, agriculture, energy and natural resources and several others, is to be formed to consider an environmental impact assessment report (EIA) under the EIA Regulation (Arts. 5 and 6). The recommendation of the Technical Committee is not binding upon the Ministry of Environment, who must make the final decision on an environmental licence.

The EIA Regulations divide projects into three categories, namely:

Category 1 – requires an EIA (and includes mining projects);

Category 2 – requires a preliminary environmental assessment, which may or may not lead to an EIA; and

Category 3 – other projects requiring neither an EIA nor a preliminary environmental assessment.

(See Article 8.)

For a Category 1 project, the proponent must submit a preliminary draft of the terms of reference for the EIA after agreeing with the Ministry on: the content of the draft; the general framework of the study; the scope of the study; the nature of anticipated significant impacts of the project; and the entities concerned with and affected by the project. The Ministry is required to consult with any public or private party that may be potentially affected by the project and to share all available information on the project with such parties. The terms of reference for the EIA are then reviewed by the Technical Committee, along with the names and technical expertise of the experts responsible for preparing the report. The Technical Committee will then provide comment within one week.

Once the EIA has been determined to be complete by the Technical Committee, the Minister has 45 days to make his or her decision. If approved, the approval is valid for a period of one year (Art. 11). The environmental approval of the project will be denied if it is shown that its implementation would cause a significant impact on the environment and that the plan for reducing adverse impacts is inadequate. There is a right of appeal to an expert panel that is to be appointed by the Minister, all of the expenses of which are to be paid for by the project proponent (Art. 16).

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Mining Overview Commentary plus sign



Jordan, officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is a middle-eastern country that is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Israel. Jordan is a constitutional monarchy, however its king holds considerable executive and legislative powers and sits as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief. The King appoints the executive branch, which consists of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and regional governors. Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The members of the House are democratically elected but the members of the Senate are appointed by the King. In 2012, Jordan passed a law (the Political Parties Law) that prohibited the establishment of parties based on religion, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Jordan has few natural resources and a small industrial base. Its reserves of crude oil are largely non-commercial, placing it at a distinct disadvantage to some of its neighbors. Nevertheless, Jordan is a significant global producer of bromine, phosphate rock and potash. In 2012, the country ranked among the world’s top three producers of bromine, it was ranked fifth for phosphate rock and seventh for potash (USGS, 2012 Minerals Yearbook). Generally speaking, Jordan is seen as open to foreign investment and it has adopted laws aimed at promoting foreign direct investment. Only quarries are restricted within the mineral sector, where Article 6 of the Regulation of Foreign Investments (No. 54 of 2000) prohibits non-Jordan investors from participating, wholly or partially, in quarries.


The primary legislation related to mining in Jordan is the Organization of Natural Resources Affairs Law (No. 12 of 1968) as updated by Law No. 30 of 1985 (Law) and Mining Regulation No. 131 of 1966 (Regulation). Pursuant to Article 30 of the Law, “All minerals existing within the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, whether found on the surface, underground or in territorial waters, rivers and internal seas shall be considered state domain.” The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, through the Natural Resources Authority, is responsible for implementing the Law.


Jordan provides two forms of mineral title, as follows:

  • Prospecting Licence: Art. 35 of the Law permits any person who has sufficient technical and financial qualifications to be granted a prospecting licence upon the payment of fees. No permits may be directly obtained by a foreigner (Art. 36). The holder has the exclusive right to explore within the defined area of the licence (Art. 41). The licence is valid for one year and may be renewed at the discretion of the NRA (Regulation, Art 3). Upon a discovery, one is entitled to a discovery certificate, which confers a preferential right to a mining right.


  • Mining Right: The decision to award a mining licence is, ultimately, discretionary. The key criteria for a mining licence are: (1) a feasibility study; and (2) technical and financial competence (Art. 42). The right may be given for a term of up to 30 years, but renewal is largely of right (Art. 42(b)). Transfers are only permitted upon consent of the Council of Ministers (Art 43).


With respect to foreign investors, an indirect investment in a project is possible without special conditions, but a direct holding of mining rights will necessitate a special agreement (which amounts to a special law). All terms and conditions may be negotiated in such an agreement, including those pertaining to the exploration phase and fiscal terms (Art. 36).


 Art. 31 of the Law indicates that mining shall be deemed to be a public utility when considering the expropriation of lands for the public interest. Article 33 goes on to state that if a landowner refuses to sell or rent land needed for exploration or mining purposes, the Council of Ministers may decide a fair price or, where applicable, to expropriate the land. Pursuant to the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation (No. 37 of 2005), an environmental approval is required for any mining project identified. The proponent must submit a preliminary draft of the terms of reference for the EIA, after agreeing with the Ministry on the content of the report, and public comment is sought in appropriate cases. The ultimate decision is left with the Minister after a Technical Committee has rendered its decision.


See Jordan Environmental Regulation.

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