How advanced you want your civilization to be? If you don't mind having them at a neolithical stage, then you can go for a completely different approach: lack of oxygen.
If the life in your planet is not oxygen-dependant, then it's quite definitely doomed to stay at neolithical stage of civilization forever. A intelligent species needs at least three things to produce a technologically advanced civilization:
- Being groupal: no matter how intelligent its individuals are, any technical progress is going to require collaboration and team work, if only so for having some of your people to produce food for you so you can use your time for thinking, inventing and creating new things. This includes having a language, since transmission of complex knowledge to the next generation is a must.
- Having a brain capable of 3D vision and abstract thinking, and extremities able to use tools. Ultra-intelligent lions would be dangerous creatures, but they would never build a plane.
- Energy sources
A intelligent but not technologically advanced species can use natural materials to make tools and utilities from them, either organic (wood, fur, bones, organic fibers...) or inorganic (rocks, water). But to reach the next level of evolution, transform these raw, naturally existing materials, into something artificial that cannot be found in nature you need to apply energy. Specifically, you need to alter its chemistry. And the only source of energy that is powerful enough to make that kind of transmutation but can be made and handled by a primitive civilization is fire. Without oxygen, there's no fire, and as such the most advanced civilization you can have is a few steps above of the Neolithic age.
With enough time they may discover some acids or hard bases to dissolve and even melt some materials, but it is unlikely that they can use these to make adequate tools. Fire allowed our ancestors not only to cook and keep predators at bay, but to make new, enhanced tools. Bone can be twisted and wood hardened with fire, metals were melt with fire, food was preserved (among other methods) with fire... without fire, even if you are virtually surrounded by iron ores, they're completely useless to you.