Guidance Document: Non-energy mineral extraction and Natura 2000

Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. It is an EU-wide ecological network of nearly 26000 sites in the 27 EU countries, established under the 1992 Habitats Directive and covering almost 18% of the EU’s land area. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species, habitats and ecosystems, which, in addition to their intrinsic values, offer a wide range of social and economic benefits to society.

These guidelines show how the needs of extractive industry can be met while avoiding adverse effects on wildlife and nature. They examine how the potential impacts of extraction activities on nature and biodiversity can be minimised or avoided altogether. They highlight the importance of strategic planning, the appropriate assessment of new developments, and the need for adequate mitigation measures. The guidelines contain many examples of best practice, and show how some extraction projects can ultimately be beneficial to biodiversity by providing highly quality ecological niches.

Views on Indicators of Resource Efficiency & Circular Economy

The Circular Economy should yield optimum solutions to the trade-offs that exist between different environmental objectives and the environmental, social and economic imperatives of Sustainable Development. The result should be an economy that optimises its use of resources and, therefore, results in improved living conditions and reduced waste globally. The European extractive industries fully support the premise that life cycle management approaches are required to describe and monitor Resource Efficiency.

See also the European Raw Materials Scoreboard

European Exploration: A record-breaking year - 23 March 2012

The hunt for Europe’s reserves is attracting money from across the globe.

European exploration expenditure is estimated to have reached approximately €400 million (US$300 million) in 2011, an alltime high, both for the Nordic countries and Western Europe in total. Raw Materials Group (RMG) expects exploration spending to increase during 2012 by 1015% to reach €450 million, of which €265 million will be in the Nordic region.

Annual Report 2011

The first few chapters of Euromines Annual Report 2011 highlight the “services” we provide to the society. Once again we are trying to promote the fact that minerals and metals represent the basis for our lives and any industrial production processes.

The following chapters cover the latest development in the competitiveness and resource efficiency issues. As each year you will find there an update on the environmental and health & safety legislation as well as Euromines activities related to these issues. The last two parts focus on communication and outlook.

Position on Resource Efficiency in the Circular Economy

The mining industry welcomes the issuing of the EU’s recent Circular Economy package, which proposes a long-term framework for actions in many EU policy areas, including climate change, energy, transport, industry, raw materials, agriculture, biodiversity and regional development. The European mining industry is keen to inform its implementation by assisting EU decision-makers in understanding global minerals markets and investment decisions. Our aim is to contribute to stakeholders' understanding of the real Circular Economy; linking to the information provided so far by the European Commission, academia, think-tanks, trade associations and mining companies.

The attached document outlines the views of Euromines members and some expectations as to what the Circular Economy package should deliver for the EU.

Natura 2000: A Guide to the Guide

The purpose of the European Commission Guidance on Non-energy mineral extraction and Natura 2000 is to address issues for which the European Commission is responsible. However, the extractive industry has its own guidelines on how to prevent the loss of biodiversity in all areas of operation, some of which go beyond, but do not specifically address, particular requirements of the EU Nature Directives.

This “Guide to the Guide” constitutes part of a Biodiversity Toolkit promoted by Euromines, which is otherwise made up of previously existing documents. It is intended to assist companies in their interpretation of the European Commission Guidance and discussion with permitting authorities and should be read in conjunction with the European Commission Guidance. The Toolkit addresses a broader range of issues concerning extractive industry impacts on biodiversity as follows:

Issue to be addressed Industry Tool
environmental impact assessment
compliance
European Commission Guidance
This “Guide to the Guide”
conservation beyond legal requirements
stakeholder consultation
ICMM Good Practice Guidance
monitoring and assurance
codes of conduct

Good Practices for the Collection of Biodiversity Baseline Data

E.g., Guideline to Promotion of Biodiversity at the Mineral Extraction Sites of HeidelbergCement
GRI Mining and Metals Sector Supplement
ICMM Sustainable Development Framework

Small and Medium Enterprise practices Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers’ Guidelines for Exploration Work

Since 2003 Euromines’ Guidelines on Sustainable Development for the European Extractive Sector have included the commitment to “Promote the conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use planning”¹ . Euromines is also an associate member of the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) and has contributed directly to the development of the ICMM Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity (2006). In 2009, Euromines also produced a book of 101 examples of beneficial mine closure in partnership with the Post-Mining Alliance².

In return, Euromines is actively seeking greater clarity, transparency, consistency and rigour in the processes by which areas of land are managed as part of the Natura 2000 network. The Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU Raw Materials Initiative³ (RMI) and the European Commission Guidance should be used to underline the need to promote increased investment in the EU’s existing natural assets.

In many Member States the process of designating Natura 2000 sites took place in a hurried way, in the absence of any consideration of other land-uses and with more focus on quantity than quality. Therefore, factual demonstration of the biodiversity value of Natura 2000 sites will often be missing and this causes problems related to land-access, mineral planning and environmental assessment in the extractive sector.

Unfortunately, European Commission guidance documents do not necessarily create the legal certainty that extractive companies need to justify expensive exploration projects, baseline studies and impact assessments. It may therefore prove necessary at a later date to integrate elements of the European Commission Guidance into national or provincial legislation.

¹ Access the Sustainable Development Guidelines

² https://www.edenproject.com/shop/101-Things-To-Do-With-A-Hole-In-The-Ground-8229.aspx

³ http://www.euromines.org/what-we-do/raw-materials-initiative

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