Environment and H&S

The EU mineral raw materials industry is committed to continuously improving its performance, following the highest environmental and social standards. The European mineral raw materials industry sector is working to improve operations so that land is disrupted as little as possible.

Legally, before any mine or quarry is opened in the EU, the operator must have a plan for restoration of the land impacted by its operations. Many such plans include offsetting or even more-than-compensating any residual losses of biodiversity. Rehabilitation strategies are centred on transforming the area back to its original state or into completely new opportunities. The innovative uses of old mines and quarries across Europe occur in amazing variety and with a vast range of purposes. Many sites deliver multiple functions in their new designs, delivering on new business models for land circularity and multi-functionality (e.g. Eden Project in Cornwall, UK; artificial lakes with floating solar panels that generate green energy (multiple projects across EU)). 

Primary production of mineral raw materials is a temporary use of land and only uses 0.5% of the EU land area. Yet the sectors’ benefits are far reaching for society. Apart from legacies of history, every European country has stories of post-closure biodiversity regeneration that include eco-tourism, recreational facilities, and a variety of small business enterprises. 

Safe and healthy working conditions are a top priority of the European raw material supply industries. Companies also frequently extend workforce health and wellbeing programmes to local communities and contractors, ensuring positive effects on people in the surrounding areas. Mineral raw materials have always contributed decisively to human evolution and wellbeing and will continue to do so in the future.