Key role of exploration
The ability of Europe's extractive industry to continue to supply existing markets and to contribute to global economic growth will depend on additional resources becoming available. The EU has many raw material deposits. However, in the past decade their exploration and extraction have faced increasing competition for different land uses and a highly regulated environment, as well as technological limitations in access to mineral deposits. It is a myth that Europe is mined out and no more metals and minerals can be found. For the time being only the near surface geology of Europe and the related mineral deposits is well known – subsurface deposits are not fully explored.
The European Commission believes that an improved EU supply of many minerals lies in better access and permit extensions for existing deposits and in the development of deep-seated concealed deposits. At this moment the focus in the EU is directed at creating a vibrant exploration sector to provide new resources to the mining sector and to invest in new exploration with modern technologies.
Improved access to mineral resources and better investment conditions
Once the exploration will have found new deposits and potential for extensions of existing operations it will be important to improve the current investment climate for the extractive sector in Europe. Hence a European Commission Working Group presented a study in June 2010 analysing the legal framework across EU Member States with regard to minerals and land planning policies, permitting conditions and eventual administrative burdens, as well as measures to stimulate investments. As a result of the study a vast majority of EU Member States have or are in the process of revising their Mineral policies and are looking into removing obstacles to investment and permitting.