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  • GDP, US$bn: 152.4
  • GDP per capita, US$: 59,306.9
  • Population, mn: 2.2
  • Inflation, CPI ave: 2.7
  • FX, LCY/US$: 3.6
  • Budget Balance, % of GDP: -9.0
  • Mining GVA, US$bn: 46.2
Regulatory Risk Rating
20
0
100
Score: 20
Extremely High Risk
Qatar's mining code reflects an age long past. It can be summarised as "apply and we will consider."

Corruption Potential Index

Score: 100
Extremely High Corruption Potential

Corruption Risk Index

Score: 85
Extremely High Corruption Risk

Regulatory Risk Rating

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Mining Overview Commentary plus sign

QATAR MINING REGULATION

 GENERAL

Qatar is located on the Qatar Peninsula surrounded by Saudi Arabia to the South and the Persian Gulf in all other directions. A strait separates the country from the nearby kingdom of Bahrain, a country with which it has a long and somewhat turbulent history (being dominated by Bahrain for many decades in the 16th and 17th centuries). Qatar is a relatively small landmass with approximately the same geographical size as the Falkland Islands. Nevertheless, it has sufficient size to support a mine and the existence of Qatar Mining, a parastatal company formed by the State in 2010, is perhaps partial evidence of this hope.

Qatar’s economy is dominated by hydrocarbons, which has given it one of the highest GDP per capita in the world as a result of its very small native population (less than 300,000). Qatar is also reported to produce calcium carbonate, cement, gypsum, lime, limestone and washed sand, as well as aluminium, steel and fertilizers through, where necessary, the importation of commodity inputs such as iron ore and bauxite. The country is not reported to host substantial resources of base or precious metals and it is doubtful that any foreign investor would brave the mining regulations to explore in the country in the absence of a very large regional agreement with the State or an arrangement facilitated by Qatar Mining.

 PRINCIPAL LEGISLATION AND REGULATOR

The principal minerals legislation in Qatar is the law concerning the Exploitation of Natural Wealth and its Sources, Law No. 3 of 2007, which is administered by the Ministry of Energy and Industry. The law provides that all mineral resources are State property (art. 2) and makes plain that: “The privilege of exploiting natural wealth … shall be granted by decision of the Minister and adopted by the Cabinet” (art. 3) and the Minister shall establish all terms and conditions for any such grant (art. 8). According to the Foreign Investment Law, Law No. 13 of 2000, a foreign investor may be permitted to obtain a 49% interest in a mineral project and, in special circumstances and with consent, even a 100% interest therein.

 GRANT AND FORMS OF MINERAL TITLE

While the mining law of Qatar contemplates the grant of authorisations to explore and exploit minerals, as well as a discovery certificate, there is little detail as to the form of such authorisations. The Minister of Energy and Industry is permitted to establish all terms and conditions for any such grant consistent with decisions taken in Cabinet (art. 8). The only clarifying provisions provided in the law are the following: 

  • Exploration Right: Article 13 provides that the holder of a prospecting right may enter into the territory to carry out drilling, build roads, install equipment, erect buildings and gather minerals. A discovery certificate may be awarded to the holder upon the discovery of a mineral or minerals in exploitable quantities, provided the location is declared by reference to technical maps (art. 9).

 

  • Mining Right: Following a discovery (evidenced by a discovery certificate), the right to apply for a mining right is reserved to the holder of the discovery certificate for a period of two years; following such period, a mining right may be awarded to third parties (arts 14 and 15). The power to revoke a mining right applies to situations of non-reporting of certain limited information on an annual basis, such as the annual work program, number of people employed and accounts (see Arts. 17 and 18); nevertheless, revocation is also possible where there exists non-compliance with any conditions of the initial grant (Art. 21); furthermore, the Minister may effectively revoke the area in the public interest at anytime (Art. 20).

 

Transfers are only permitted on consent of the Minister (Art. 19).

 DEVELOPMENT CONSIDERATIONS

Executive Regulation No. 4 of 2005 provides that all projects involving the exploration and exploitation of rocks, sand and marble fall within those that are liable, by their nature, to cause environmental damage (and therefore require an environmental licence to operate). As well, the refining of aluminum, iron and other metals and minerals also falls into the category of project requiring an environment licence. (See Appendix 1.) The licensing authorities are prohibited from issuing the permits for Projects or Establishments before carrying out a study to assess its environmental effects through the completion of an EIA (Art. 7). Subsequent to the award of a licence, the licence may be revoked if the EIA was based on incorrect data, operating conditions are violated or unexpected environmental effects have arisen from the operation (Art. 20).

 ENVIRONMENT REGULATIONS

 See Qatar Environmental Regulation.

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Environmental Overview Commentary plus sign

QATAR ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION

GENERAL

Qatar is located on the Qatar Peninsula, surrounded by Saudi Arabia to the South and the Persian Gulf in all other directions. A strait separates the country from the nearby kingdom of Bahrain, a country with which it has a long and somewhat turbulent history (being dominated by Bahrain for many decades in the 16th and 17th centuries). Qatar is a relatively small landmass with approximately the same geographical size as the Falkland Islands. Air, water and land pollution are significant environmental issues in Qatar. Soil has been damaged by pesticides and fertilizers and its agricultural land is in danger of desertification. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), there are many threatened species of animals, including the hawksbill turtle, green sea turtle, spotted eagle, tiger shark, great snipe, and the white oryx.

PRINCIPAL LEGISLATION AND REGULATOR

Environmental responsibility rests with the Ministry of Environment. The principal environmental legislation is the Law of Environment Protection, Law No. 30 of 2002. Article 3 of the Law states: “All Administrative Authorities in the State shall take the necessary measures and precautions to protect the Environment, combat pollution, conserve natural resources and ensure their sustainability to meet the development requirements for the present or future generations.” Article 10 goes on to provide that the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves (Council) may take action to avoid, prevent or mitigate any harm likely to occur to the Environment, including temporarily withholding or cancelling operations or imposing technical or operational restrictions, conditions, measures and criteria on any such activity.

EIA PROCESS AND OTHER PERMITS

The Law of Environment Protection defines a “Project or Establishment” as any utility or onshore or offshore facilities, including any building, structure, installation, project operation or any activity likely to be the source of environmental pollution or degradation as determined by Executive Regulation. The Law goes on to provide that the Council is to establish those Projects and Establishments that require licensing by Executive Regulation. Executive Regulation No. 4 of 2005 provides that all projects involving the exploration and exploitation of rocks, sand and marble fall within those that are liable, by their nature, to cause environmental damage (and therefore require an environmental licence to operate). As well, the refining of aluminum, iron and other metals and minerals also falls into the category of projects requiring an environment licence. (See Appendix 1.)

The licensing authorities are prohibited from issuing the permits for Projects or Establishments before carrying out a study to assess its environmental effects through the completion of an EIA (Art. 7). Prior to the issuance of a project license for its operation, expansion or modification the licensing authority is required to send a copy of the EIA to the general secretariat of the Council (Art. 8). The general secretariat is entitled to seek the assistance of the experts to verify the EIA (Art. 9). The EIA is to consider, among other things:

• the impact of the Project or Establishment on the health of humans, ecological systems, places of beauty or of archaeological, architectural, cultural, historical, scientific, or social significance; • the impact on flora and fauna; • long term impacts on the environment; • pollution and waste that will result from the Project; and • the impact of the Project on present and potential future activities (Art. 16).

Subsequent to the award of a licence, the licence may be revoked if the EIA was based on incorrect data, operating conditions are violated or unexpected environmental effects have arisen from the operation (Art. 20).

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