Saudi Arabia has approved a comprehensive new mining law to enable growth across its growing mining and minerals sector.
The new law aims to attract new investors while contributing to the development of local communities and the protection of the environment.
The law was developed through extensive consultation with international experts and benchmarking of global best practice in mining legislation.
Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef approved the implementation of the new Mining Investment Law, following its approval by the Council of Ministers last June. The law came into force on January 1.
Saudi Arabia’s national strategic framework ‘Vision 2030’ identified mining as a potentially significant contributor to the diversification of the Saudi economy.
In the last decade, over $40-billion has already been invested in this growing sector, propelling the Kingdom to become a substantial supplier of mining sector products to regional and global markets.
But recent government studies indicate the untapped potential of the Kingdom’s mineral wealth could be as high as $1.3-trillion.
Al-Khorayef said that, to establish a mining law that would unlock this potential and enable new investment for the next phase of mining sector growth, the government undertook a comprehensive process of consultation with global experts in mining legislation and carefully studied some of the world’s most successful mining jurisdictions.
“We wanted to ensure the Mining Investment Law would not only enhance governance of the sector, improve transparency, and increase investor confidence, but it was a priority for us to achieve growth sustainability through preserving the environment, promoting health and occupational safety and encouraging local communities to participate in the growth of the mining sector,” said Al-Khorayef.
He emphasised that the law would help ensure that mining activities contribute to community development, create new job opportunities, and support the growth of local businesses.
Moreover, to protect local environments, the law requires full environmental impact studies for all new projects, as well as detailed plans for the eventual closure and rehabilitation of any mining site.
Al-Khorayef highlighted that while the new mining law clarifies the roles and responsibilities of new investors in Saudi mining projects, it also greatly improves the ease of doing business by digitising the process for issuing new mining licences, streamlining licence approvals, and transparently publishing records related to all mining licensing activity.