Update on national implementation of RMI

Currently the following updates on national implementation of RMI are available:

Austria

Last update December 2014

The Austrian minerals strategy is to be understood as the essential instrument to transpose the national minerals policy into reality successfully. It is the priority objective to ensure and to improve the supply of the Austrian economy with minerals and commodities. Similar to the Raw Materials Initiative of the European Commission the Austrian raw materials strategy is based on three pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Securing minerals supply from domestic resources (realisation of the Austrian Mineral Resources Plan)
  • Pillar 2: Securing minerals supply from Non-EU countries (raw materials partnerships)
  • Pillar 3: Promoting resources efficiency (substitution, recycling, development of new methods with reduced minerals input)

Pillar 1
The Austrian Mineral Resources Plan
The Austrian Mineral Resources Plan is a core element of the Austrian minerals policy and the minerals strategy (Pillar 1). It is the main purpose of the Austrian Mineral Resources Plan to identify mineral occurrences using innovative, objective and systemanalytical methods (WEBER ed. 2012). As in many cases areas containing mineral occurrences are in contradiction with land use planning a first approach was made to identify conflict free areas. Those mineral occurrences, proved as worth to be protected because of quality, quantity and not coinciding with "nogo" or conflict zones in land-use had been handed over to the competent authorities of the provinces to declare them as raw material safeguarding areas in land use planning. More than 245 occurrences of metallic ores and industrial minerals have been qualified to be safeguarded. However, of outmost importance was the identification of conflict free occurrences of construction materials (sand, gravel, crushed stone). By respecting safeguarding methods in land use planning it was possible to hold sand and gravel available for > 50 years, crushed stone for > 100 years for most supply regions (safeguarding by demand).

Pillar 2
Raw Material Partnerships
Notwithstanding the international efforts of the EC, Austria is exploring bilateral agreements with countries important and interesting for the raw material supply of Austrian economy. Currently negotiations with Mongolia are taking place.

Pillar 3
Resource efficiency
Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water management developed in a stakeholder process the "Austrian Action Plan on Resource Efficiency", which was published in 2012.

Horizontal activities

Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy founded in 2012 the "Austrian Raw Material Alliance", which is acting as a discussion platform of stakeholders interested in improvements of raw material supply. The overarching objective of this platform is the reduction of import dependency and increasing the supply security of raw material important for the Austrian economy. An initial focus has been placed on identifying strategies to increase recovery of critical raw materials (critical for the Austrian economy) out of waste. In three rounds of talks so far, a package was put to practical recommendations for the achievement of objectives. These recommendations for action to improve the framework conditions of R & D and regulatory framework should be subsequently implemented. Implementation of resource-related issues in a research program called "Production of the Future" is already fixed.
The "Austrian Raw Material Alliance" is acting as a mirror committee of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.

Czech Republic

Last update December 2014

  • During the year 2014 the Ministry of Industry and Trade will organized several round tables involving participation of expert public, representatives of NGOs as well as industry regarding to finalize current draft of the Mineral Policy
  • For the end of the year 2014 is in a legislature plan of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to hand over the Mineral Policy Draft to the government legislature committee and then to the government

Bulgaria

Minerals Policy

The Bulgarian government has started a dialogue on developing a new Minerals Policy.

Events

Together with the various Bulgarian Ministries Round Table events will be organised on three different days for the three SD topics, where companies will share their best practices experiences with important political representatives, NGO's, and other companies.

The first round table is set on 28-June 2011 and will deal with economic SD; the second will be end of July on environmental SD; the last one will be held on the third week of September and will be on Social Responsibility.

Czech Republic

Minerals Policy

At the beginning of 2011 the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade has started to work on the actualization of the Czech Republic state mineral policy that should fully reflect the basic outcomes of the Raw Materials Initiative. However, the strategic document itself has not been approved yet. The government has already approved a summarized report drafted by the responsible departments of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which provides the basic reasoning for the actualization (including current EU trends based on the Raw Materials Initiative).

It is expected that the strategic document (the Czech Republic Mineral Policy) will be circulated and approved by the Czech government by the end of the year 2011.

Issues

The current government in its governmental declaration promised to maintain the so called "geographical mining limits" for the lignite (brown coal) mining areas and during May 2011 the government returned the proposal for a Czech Republic Energetic Policy (where the use of domestic lignite/brown coal is of course predicted) back to the responsible departments within the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The domestic deposits of lignite are quite significant and their importance could even be increased because of the changed policy situation in Germany. A similar thing could happen to the Czech Republic Mineral Policy document.

There have been ongoing debates about changes of the mining law in the Czech Republic since the nineties, but so far only amendments of the original law from the end eighties have taken place. The same holds true for other "supplement" law elements such as geological law connected with the mining activities. Predictions about the fundamental structural changes of the mining law are different. At the moment the mining law appropriately balances industry on one hand and environmental protection on the other (for instance reflects and protects necessary rights to transparently perform entrepreneurship within the mining sector, right of municipalities and other authorities to take place within the permitting process).

Finland

In case of Finland, we are speaking about the mineral policy for a country
  • with strong Nordic democratic traditions
  • with high percentage of private land ownership
  • with high demands of environment protection
Governmental support to mining industry

Finnish government is regarding the mining industry as very important for the economy of the whole country but especially for rural and high unemployment areas. Special attention to exploration and mining in new Government Program.

Mineral's strategy process
  • The process was steered by the Ministry and managed by Geological Survey of Finland
  • All relevant mineral industry branches and other interest groups were invited to participate
  • The strategy covers all sub-branches of mineral sector: mining, extracting and stone industries, machinery, equipment and services for mining
  • The process was based on open discussion, seeking consensus
  • The target of the strategy is to advise government policy making as well as mineral branch itself
Finnish Mineral's Strategy Vision for 2050

Strategic objectives

  • Solutions for global mineral chain challenges
  • Promoting domestic growth and prosperity
  • Mitigating environmental impact

The themes of the action proposals

  • Strengthening minerals policy
  • Securing the supply of raw materials
  • Reducing the environmental impact of the minerals sector and increasing its productivity
Green Mining – Mineral sector development program

Vision: in 2020, Finland will be a global leader of an eco-efficient mining industry.
Duration: 2011-2016
Budget: 60mEUR, out of which Tekes (The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) funding is 30mEUR.
Enterprises: 20mEUR Tekes funding as grands (35/50%) or loans (70%), proposals can be submitted all the time.
Public research organizations: 10mEUR Tekes funding as grants (60/70%). Calls once a year.

Green mining concept
  • Promotes materials and energy efficiency
  • Ensures availability of mineral resources for future needs
  • Minimizes adverse environmental and social impacts
  • Improves work and organisational practices
  • Ensures sustainable land use following mine closure
New elements of mining act:
  • Mining Act is a comprehensive renewal of the legislation affecting exploration and mining
  • Responsibilities of exploration and mining companies against other stakeholders will be clarified
  • Landowners, local organisations and citizens have possibility to submit their opinions during the permitting process, before decisions
  • Local municipalities and environment authorities will during the process give their statements about the projects

Finlands Minerals Strategy

Germany

Last update January 2015

Private sector:
Safeguarding supply of raw materials (exploration, extraction, processing, transport, supply contracts, holding of stocks, etc.).

State:
Policy framework for raw materials (expertise of state institutions, R&D, foreign policy support, laws and ordinances, untied financial loans guarantee instrument).

Economic policy principles
  • Raw materials supply remains the responsibility of the private sector.
  • Interministerial Raw Materials Committee co-ordinates measures of Federal Government to safeguard supply of raw materials and supports the efforts of the business community in the field of raw materials.
Further measures
  • Development of potential raw materials resources via efficient extraction and processing technologies, recycling and R&D;
  • Structural measures;
  • Mineral Resources Agency;
  • Establishment of a research institute for resource technologies in Freiberg, Saxony.
Enhancing raw materials efficiency

EU flagship initiative for a resource-efficient Europe of 26.01.2011
Objectives: decoupling of economic growth from the utilisation of resources; shift to a low-emission economy
Broad-based programme with individual initatives in all relevant policy fields (energy, raw materials, agriculture, transport, environment)

Summary
  • High political priority for raw materials at all levels (national, bilateral, EU, G8, G20, etc.);
  • Federal Government's raw materials strategy is being implemented;
  • Call to business community to co-ordinate its activities to safeguard supply (Raw Materials Working Group);
  • Standing side-by-side with business community to safeguard Germany's interests in raw materials;
  • For further information see www.bmwi.de.

Greece

Minerals Policy

The exploitation of the mineral wealth of Greece is constitutionally protected, as the Greek Constitution provides specifically for the obligation of the State to take all necessary measures for the utilization of all sources of national wealth as well as the mineral deposits. Also, the laws providing for the ownership and exploitation of mines, especially the Greek Mining Code which is referring only to mining ores, are also based on a special provision of the Constitution while areas may be expropriated in order to facilitate the utilization of the minerals resources.

The laws governing the permitting and operation make distinctions between construction materials on the one hand and quarry, industrial and mining minerals on the other. They are governed by different pieces of regulation.

Land Use Planning at various levels, operation framework

The National Plan (2008) refers specifically to the wealth of the country in mining deposits and their importance in the production activity of the country and mentions the need to recognize mining minerals as being of equal importance as the other resources. Minerals should be exploited in a way compatible with environmental protection and the exercise of other activities, such as tourism, while mining activities can contribute to the local spatial development and the retaining of youth in the countryside.

Directions are provided for marine establishments used by mines, the preservation of mining activities in existing areas and the research for new areas especially with regards to mineral resources which cover local needs or address international markets such as lignite in Western Macedonia and Peloponnisos, bauxite in Fokida, Voiotia and Fthiotida, Fe-Ni ores in Voiotia, Fokida, Evoia, Western and Central Macedonia, crude oil mixed sulphided and magnesite in Chalkidiki, feldspar and gold in Central Macedonia, pozolane, perlite, betonite and general industrial minerals in the Cyclades and the Southern Aegean and especially in Milos, Nisyros and Yali, gypsum in Crete and marbles in various areas of the country.

Special care is also needed regarding construction minerals so as to secure coverage of the needs while at the same time ensuring minimum environmental impacts.

The Land Planning of such activities should also aim at the land planning of plants for the primary treatment of ores and minerals and processing and metallurgical plants at the mine sites as well as at securing marine connections for the transport of the products.

In the Special Plan for Industry the areas where metallurgical plants are sited, e.g. Fe-Ni Metallurgical plants, or lignite –burned power plants are included in the special Plan of Industry. In this Plan no provisions are made for the extractive industry alone, if not combined within an industrial site where the mineral products are treated.

The Regional Plans
As aforementioned, the regional plans mainly restrict themselves in references as to the geographic locations of minerals, such as the marbles of Kavala, the dominant position of mining activities in the Region of Sterea Ellada, the excavation of lignitein Central Macedonia etc. In some cases there are hints on mining policies while the action plans included in the plans may further refer to the development of mining activities, yet with broad references of limited practical value.

Additionally the exploitation of aggregates is taking place in determined, by Prefecture Authorities, «Quarry Zones», according to the local needs and the public constructions. Also exist the Regulation of Mining and Quarrying Activities referring to the H&S matters, to the Technical Study (Exploitation Study) and the operating framework of the extractive activities.

Permitting Procedures

1. All the underground mining activities, the exploitation of metallic ores and the exploitation of industrial minerals and quarries in areas bigger than 500.000 m2 are following the procedure bellow:

Firstly you have to take the mining rights of the requested area (either lease a public mine or obtain directly from the State the relevant permit). Then the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment study, together with the approval of tailing management facilities study and the waste disposal study (National Level – Ministry of Environment) then the approval of the Exploitation study – Technical Study (National Level), (not parallel assessment) and finally intervention permit from Forest authorities (Local Level – Prefecture Authorities) have to be obtained, if the exploration will take place in forest area.

Parallel to the Forestry intervention license, you have to take the licenses for the Processing plant, Auxiliary facilities, Fire Safety certificate from the Prefecture Authorities.

2. Quarries and industrial minerals exploitations in occupied areas less than 500.000 m2 are following the procedure bellow:

a) Submit to Prefecture authorities a map ( 1:5000) of the requested area in which land uses, protected areas, monuments, infrastructure are presented. This request for permit is sent to various local and regional authorities for their preliminary opinion. b) Obtain approval for Environmental Impact Assessment of the allowed area (Prefecture Authorities). c) approval of Exploitation Study – Technical Study (National Level), ((not parallel assessment). d) Intervention permit from Forest authorities, if needed (Local level). e) Parallel to that from the Prefecture Authorities the licenses for the Processing plant, Auxiliary facilities, Fire Safety certificate. f) Opinion from Prefecture Authorities – Operation License.

Revision of Greek minerals policy and permitting procedures

The Greek government is considering a revision of its Minerals Policy and its permitting procedures.

To this end a conference was held in April 2011 to discuss the Greek mineral potential and the way forward to contributing to growth from the minerals sector. Greek government representatives from the Ministries and the Greek Parliament were present and discussed the situation and the way forward.

Mr Maniatis, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment, responsible for energy and mineral resources, established a committee composed by the representatives of the ministry, of Greek Mining Enterprises Association, Technical Chamber of Greece, Geotechnical Chamber of Greece and Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration, in order to elaborate and propose a new national minerals policy, incorporating and specifying the best practices of the Commission and the key points of the Raw Materials Initiative.

This committee completed the work and posed the whole proposition to the undersecretary Mr Maniatis and the Secretary Mrs Tina Birbilli (Ministry of Environment).

Also the Ministry or Environment will organize a conference in order to present the proposed minerals policy (firstly accepted by the Ministry) and give the opportunity to stakeholders and professors of geosciences to express their ideas.

Hungary

National minerals policy

Unfortunately in Hungary the legal regulation of mineral raw materials management is still missing. The tendency of national mineral policy is the "safeguarding". Along those lines, the restriction to access to raw materials has been dominating, with reference to environmental protection e.g. NATURA 2000.

Land-planning policies

For environmental protection reasons restrictions are still in force which does allow for foreign mining entrepreneurs to obtain land-property. This hinders considerably the improvement of access to raw materials for them.

Mining law or any other relevant discussions

In autumn 2010, Hungary was declared as a "closed" area concerning energetic mineral raw materials, geothermical energy and mineral ores, where new mines can be opened only by concession contracts. For concession contract, environmental sensitivity and "burden ability investigations have to be effected. But its legal background has not made yet. Discussion on the plans has been still going on, but the environment wants further restrictions.

Events

Momentarily there has been a social debate on "The country wishes to live" country strategy looking in the next 10 years future, which was elaborated by the Ministry of Rural Development. This strategy also relates to the access to mineral raw materials.

Norway

The situation in Norway is that a new Mineral Act which was implemented from the end of the year 2009 onwards. Five former acts were merged. There are several new important decisions: implementation of financial guarantee for clean up, and there is the legal obligation to have a responsible with adequate competence to operate the mine/quarry.

In June 2010 the Norwegian Parliament debated whether a mineral strategy should be adopted. There was agreement across all parties that a mineral policy is needed. The ministry of industry will later present a White paper regarding Industrial policy in spring 2011, and it is expected that mining and quarrying is dealt with in one of the chapters.

Portugal

Last update December 2014

Considering potential geological resources as a factor of economic development, the XIX Constitutional Government included in the Broad Economic Plan for 2012-2015, approved by Law 64-A/2011, December 30th, under the table of the "5ª Opção - O Desafio do Futuro - Medidas sectoriais prioritárias" (5th Option - The Challenge of the Future - Sectorial Priority Measures), the presentation of " a national strategy for geological resources that establishes a funding strategy for the promotion of the exploration phase and attracts foreign investment to exploitation and promotes the sustained growth of the sector, increases exports of technologies and creates jobs."

This National Strategy for Geological Resources - Mineral Resources was approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 78/2012 of  September 11 th.

Diagnosis to the sector carried out with a view to achieve the European guidelines and options taken at national level made it possible to conclude that: i) Portugal currently has a deficit in the knowledge base of its territory, ii) areas already identified with potential are, at present and in most cases, object of applications for the granting of rights of exploration but are not, however, being sufficiently studied, iii) there is room to reconsider the state's presence across the value chain, iv) it is necessary to divulge the sector in a more structured manner, v) there is potential for improvement of the legislative and contractual framework, and finally vi) the royalties' system can be further developed.

In this context, the mentioned National Strategy aims to promote a mining sector that:  
  
a) Is dynamic, ensuring the uptake and holding of investment and proper exploitation of resources;  
  
b) Is sustainable at economical, social, environmental and territorial levels;  
  
c) Promotes the growth of the national economy, by ensuring supply of essential raw materials and reinforces its importance in the national Gross Domestic Product and exports; and 
  
d) Promotes regional development, guaranteed return and employment for local people and ensures the development of the communities where it operates.

By being the segment with greater value, the initial strategic focus for boosting the geological resources sector in Portugal is focused on metallic minerals.

The guidelines of the National Strategy for Geological Resources are based on four areas of action:
  Axis A - Adequacy of the bases of the sector, by redefining the role of the State and the revision of the rules of organization and discipline of the activity;
  Axis B - Development of knowledge and appreciation of the national potential, through the improvement of collection methods and systematization of information for a better use of resources;
  Axis C - Dissemination and promotion of the national potential, through communication initiatives and the creation of an Office of the Mining Investor within the General Directorate of Energy and Geology, to act as a one-stop-shop;
  Axis D - Economical, social, environmental and territorial sustainability.

The Government has followed up the National Strategy with the announcement on July 2014 of its 2014-2020 mineral fostering programme. According to this programme, the following steps shall be taken immediately:

  1. Approval of the new base law for geological resources;
  2. Opening of the one-stop-shop foreshadowed in the National Strategy and
  3. Revision of the plan to implement the Strategy namely to include new focus points identified by the Government.

The new base law of geological resources shall include inter alia:

  1. a revision of the royalties policy allowing 25% of the royalties' amount to be used directly by the concessionaire on social commitment programs and projects and for a Geological Resources Fund to be created to support actions on knowledge, conservation and valuing of the Portuguese mining and geological heritage;
  2. mandatory consultations to municipalities and other competent entities on environmental preservation and land planning for all phases of the concession process;
  3. publication of the non-binding opinions from the above entities and any claims made;
  4. a new phase of prior evaluation with a maximum duration of one year to allow research and studies of the existing resources including access to the national archives and collecting of samples from the surface and
  5. the possibility of two or more concessionaires joining in a group of concessionaires with a single representative if they have adjacent concessions, belong to the same group or the exploited resources are similar or complementary.

The one-stop-shop which shall be opened very soon is expected to serve as a focal point for the investor and establish communication lines with different government entities, as well as prepare a guide for mining investors, foster partnerships, promote Portugal's mineral potential and raise awareness of the country's geological resources.  
  
   
The new aspects that the Government understands that nee​d to be analysed in more depth are the following:
  (1) Axis D: financing instruments for the whole value chain such as flow-through shares, streaming arrangements or Government financing programmes,
  (2) Axis B: fostering the knowledge of the country's geological resources taking into account international examples such as the Tellus project, the PACE targeting or the National Cooperative Geological Mapping Program,
  (3) Axis B: fostering the access to qualified human resources and available equipment,
  (4) Axis A: reviewing the procedure of granting concessions and licenses,
  (5) Axis A: mitigating the effects of the bonds for instance by reducing the bond in proportion to the investment made or reducing it gradually every year if the activities set out in the work plan are executed and
  (6) Axis A: defining the future role of the state owned company EDM.

Sweden

The Ministry of Industry has requested a proposal be March 31 from the Swedish Geological Survey on how to develop a mineral strategy for Sweden.

A Powerful Swedish Mineral Strategy – aim, content and work

The goal shall be ambitious. Well balanced political means and technical development shall contribute to the recirculation of the main share of metals used in Sweden. The mineral resources shall be used in a sustainable manner to create wealth, especially in remote regions. Extraction shall be done with advanced techniques and a high degree of automatisation with minimum environmental impact. Sweden shall have world class research on ore geology and extraction.

The report then touches upon
  • Recycling and resource efficiency
  • Geological investigations
  • Research
  • Mineral extraction of the future
  • Infrastructure
  • Mineral information
  • Responsibility of the companies
  • Education and supply of competence
  • Permitting processes
  • Coordination of export and import
  • EU cooperation
  • The tasks for the Geological survey

There is a political momentum at the moment for measures to make the permitting processes more effective. The industry association SveMin is running a project on this.

The Swedish Parliament has requested the government to review the mineral law regarding early information to landowners and community on prospecting work.

United Kingdom

UK- Resources Security Action Plan: making the most of valuable materials

There are rising concerns about the security of supply of key metals and minerals essential to the UK economy and the development of low carbon technologies.

UK´s Resource Security Action Plan aims to develop better coordination between government and industry and to make sure businesses are armed with good information about the availability of these resources to make the right choices. While it is not expected to run out of these resources in the near future, there is a need take action to ensure reliable and sustainable access to materials.

The Action Plan sets out the risks to the reliable supply of materials, along with the opportunities for businesses from new markets, from an ever increasing reliance on specialty metals and minerals used in everyday technology such as mobile phones, laptops, medical equipment, vehicles and aeroplanes.

The Action Plan looks at the economic as well as environmental opportunities, and highlights how resource efficient production techniques can reduce costs and increase competitiveness. It points to opportunities for growth in new markets for technological or service solutions. And it outlines how better management of resources will help protect the natural environment, reducing the need for extraction and refining of virgin materials, and reducing GHG emissions and other environmental impacts.

Together with partners such as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Technology Strategy Board, the Knowledge Transfer Networks, WRAP, the British Geological Survey and UK businesses the Government will seek to capture the value of these resources by:

  • Raising awareness about resource risks through a critical resources dashboard;
  • Supporting innovation with a new challenge fund and demonstration trials;
  • Working in partnership with businesses through an industry-led consortium;
  • Developing the right policy frameworks;
  • Widening our understanding of where the critical materials we need to recover are currently ending up.

Download UK Resource Security Action Plan

Did you know?

Downstream users such as the construction, chemicals, automotive, aerospace, machinery and equipment sectors all depend on raw materials, providing a total value added of about €1.324 billion and employment for some 30 million people, all depend on access to raw materials.