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Key elements of a model mining code: a Middle East case study


  • Albert C. Gourley

    (Fasken Martineau LLP)


There can be an inclination amongst some governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to view the resource sector with some cynicism. Junior mining companies sometimes engage with local communities (or not), leave without a trace (or perhaps with tracks, trails and trenches) and offer only a brief hope for betterment (or long-standing court battles over environmental or community issues) causing strong emotive reactions. None of the major miners have managed to avoid controversy in their own corporate histories either; of course, none ever could. The art of crafting reform to mineral regulation throughout the world has become a balancing act for the international resource lawyer. The mining company requires certainty when investing in exploration, development or expansion projects in a foreign country to offset the substantial uncertainty inherent in the exploration and mining processes themselves. One needs clear rules which are consistently applied that assure the developer that it may explore, develop and produce any discovery without interference of government or any other person and can measure with some accuracy the expected investment and the anticipated reward. This paper examines several mining codes in the Middle East and offers a critical assessment of their relative opportunity and risk to the developer. It examines each risk in comparative detail, including in comparison to a set of principles found in an exemplary mining code adopted by Madagascar in 2005. The principles of a model mining code (MMC) have been determined after examining more than 50 mining codes from around the world and benefit from the work of MineHutte and the Fraser Institute, which offer ratings for mining regulatory regimes based on different criteria.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert C. Gourley, 2019. "Key elements of a model mining code: a Middle East case study," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 32(2), pages 187-204, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:32:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s13563-018-0166-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-018-0166-7

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