Laws governing Mining Industry in UAE

20 Apr 2022

The primary activities around mining are exploration and feasibility, planning, and construction. In the UAE, the Emirate of Fujairah is occupied with minerals, such as chrome and precious metals. According to article 23 of the UAE Federal Constitution, each Emirate ownership of and has the ability to manage and mine its mineral resources. Abu Dhabi, the largest emirates, controlled 94% of the UAE’S national petroleum and natural gas reserves, and Dubai held 4%. Each Emirate managed the extraction of petroleum and natural gas with the governing policies for petroleum and gas extraction, for example:

  • Abu Dhabi: The Supreme Petroleum Council regulated petroleum and gas extraction policies in the capital. The Emirate controlled its petroleum and natural gas resources through the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC). ADNOC operation was run through subsidiaries that carried out most of the exploration, production, transportation, and marketing operation for crude petroleum, liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petrochemicals, and other petroleum industries in the UAE
  • In Dubai, it is the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.
  • In Sharjah, it is the Sharjah Petroleum Council.


Concerning gold and diamond, the UAE does not produce these metals, but it is a principal global commerce center of both rough and polished diamond and gold. In 2015, the UAE’s imports of gold decreased by about 75% as exports of gold increased by about 63% compared with those of 2014. The UAE’s diamond trading partners included diamond-producing countries in Africa, diamond-processing centers in China and India, and diamond-consuming markets in Europe. The authority that regulates import and export in the GCC region is the Export Control Executive Office (ECEO). Any import/export of mining activities such as diamond, gold, etc., require customs clearance from the customs office, designated by the Minister of each seaport, land port, and airport. The GCC customs Law 2002 regulates custom procedures and tariffs. Additionally, the shipping and import of products in the UAE are managed by the Federal Customs Authority (FCA), which was amended by the Council of Ministers and the Federal Supreme Council. On 8 January 2003, the revised Federal Decree-Law Number 1 of 2003 was issued by H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, then the UAE president, to establish the Federal Customs Authority (FCA). The UAE did not have until the moment a specific Federal Law governing the mining industry. Still, we can find federal environmental laws, such as Federal Law Number 24 of 1999, Federal Cabinet Resolution Number 20 of 2008, Federal Ministerial Resolution Number 492 of 2008, and Federal Ministerial Resolution Number 110 of 2010


Federal Law Number 24 of 1999 

This law is about the protection and development of the environment; one goal is to control all forms of pollution and avoid any immediate or long-term harmful effects resulting from economic, agricultural, industrial, development, etc. Another goal is to develop natural resources and conservation of biological diversity in the UAE and manipulate such resources with consideration of present and future generations. Federal Cabinet Resolution Number 20 of 2008 This resolution regulates the activities of crushing plants and quarries and the transport of their products. Article 15 of this Law lays down what a person/company that causes damage to the environment, violating the provision of this resolution, must be responsible for all necessary costs for repairing or eliminating the injuries. Furthermore, article 16 states that damages that affect the environment itself and prevent or reduce the lawful use thereof, temporarily or permanently, must be included too. The Federal Environmental Agency is the entity that decides the amount of the indemnity. Federal Ministerial Resolution Number 492 of 2008 It is the regulatory guidelines for planning, operation, and implementing environmental control for quarries and crushers in the UAE. Article 10 states that quarry and crusher operators must perform progressive rehabilitation as they extract their sites, which means that rehabilitation must be done sequentially within a reasonable time after the extraction of quarry resources is complete. Federal Ministerial Resolution Number 110 of 2010 This resolution provides guidelines for drilling, quarry blasting, material handling, and hauling in the site. According to this law, all mining/quarry operators shall submit the production and operations data to the competent local authority and the environment and water ministry’s technical division. Furthermore, article 6 states that all mines/quarries will install at least one stationary air quality monitor for PM10 and TSP measurements, and the authorities will inspect the monitor sometimes. All mines/quarries should obtain an Environmental Compliance Certification (ECC) from the environment and water ministry’s technical division. On the other hand, this resolution orders that every site shall have a well-planned health, safety, and environmental management system and should have the following guidelines for safety:

  • The safety standards are set by the ministry of interior and local authorities.
  • A water tanker with a high-pressure pump to combat any fire hazards due to accidents. 
  • The staff at the mine/quarry should be trained to follow safety standards.


In conclusion, regarding the laws that govern mining in the UAE, we can consider that environmental protection is significant in this type of business. All the business entities operating in the world should be aware of the environmental laws and regulations. The mining industry is regarded as one of the most polluting in the world. Therefore, the rules governing this industry are strict. And there should be someone as an agent aside from you who are up to date with these federal legal updates. As human beings, we need the industries’ resources, but this development must be durable.