EU Nature Restoration Law proposal – Joint Position paper

Euromines warmly welcomes the objectives of the EU Nature Restoration Law proposal, however, we call for clarification with the purpose of enabling the European extractive industry to make an even more substantial contribution to restoration. This ambitious proposal lacks clarity when raw materials are indispensable for the move to an EU climate-neutral and sustainable economy.
Read the joint paper from EurominesEurogypsum(link is external)Aggregates Europe – UEPG(link is external)Cerame-Unie(link is external), & EXCA(link is external).

Together, Aggregates Europe-UEPG, Cerame-Unie, Eurogypsum, Euromines, and EXCA, represent the largest part of the non-energy extractive industry in Europe with members in all 27 EU countries. Our members are committed to supplying essential and strategic mineral raw materials and products which enable Europe’s transition to a climate-neutral, pollution free, and circular economy while our industries contribute to Europe’s strategic autonomy by an exclusively domestic supply of mineral raw materials.

The ambitious restoration objectives which we commend should now be reflected in clear, applicable, and fair legal instruments, enabling sustainable economic growth and access to essential mineral raw materials in the EU. This needs to be done in a wide perspective, understanding that protection and restoration of nature should not be seen as opponent to land use but as an integrated and necessary part of sustainable land use.

As such, we support the establishment of nature restoration targets, which can be an effective tool to protect our ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide. Representing a very large part of the European non-energy extractive industry, the signing business associations can significantly and positively contribute to achieving the nature restoration objectives by sharing best practices that are already implemented in restoration plans throughout extraction sites. To unleash their full restoration potential and contribution, our sectors would welcome some clarity about newly introduced key concepts, legal clarity regarding identified issues, and more involvement with local stakeholders when it comes to implementing the future nature restoration provisions.

Our sector is committed to contributing to biodiversity net gain, nature protection, and nature restoration. We already implement nature restoration measures in quarrying and mining and are in favour of continuing to do so. In spite of that, it seems that our sector has not fully been considered when elaborating the Nature Restoration Law: some essential elements (such as key definitions or newly introduced concepts as well as methodologies to assess nature restoration concretely) are still unclear and need to be clarified or detailed to allow our sector to contribute to its full potential. We further deem the local stakeholders not sufficiently associated in the future elaboration of nature restoration projects and in reaching the outlined ambitious restoration targets.

We strongly recommend a stepwise approach as the best way to develop and implement ambitious goals. On the contrary, unrealistic and unreachable policy goals spark frustration and often lead to setting even more stringent goals in the following revision stages, resulting in demotivation to involve and stimulate the concerned stakeholders. It would be a missed opportunity if our sector would be hindered in contributing to the EU’s Nature Restoration objective. Besides, a law that disregards the concerns raised here could very well result in endangering the strategic autonomy of the European Union regarding the availability of certain raw materials. In everyone’s interest, we would therefore call upon EU policymakers to address these points of uncertainty, while keeping the main objectives included in the core of this proposal.

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