Editorial

There remains a common assumption is that mining is always incompatible with other land uses, particularly conservation or natural land uses.

Although mining can have a significant ‚Äėfootprint‚Äô, the size and nature of the footprint varies with each project. Compatibility with other potential land uses can only be determined on a case-by-case basis in the process of planning land-use, mining and mine closure.

By definition mining is a temporary use of land. This means that land use options after it ceases must be considered as part of every project. Post-extraction land uses are therefore very dependent both on the nature of the mining activity and the extent to which planning for the post-closure phase takes place.

Some types of mining allow for ‚Äėrestoration‚Äô of land to pre-extraction status, others can alter the landscape permanently but allow for new land uses. Some types of mineral extraction can also co-exist with other land uses at the same time.

Of course, the integrity of any land use that is either sequential and/or concurrent to mining will be highly dependent on the extent to which responsible mineral extraction is being practiced.

This means of course that the environmental risks must be understood and managed appropriately.

Modern mining techniques and technology allow for far better management of social and environmental impacts than in the past. Today we have growing opportunities for compatibility with other uses. So as an industry it is incumbent on us to foster broader understanding of mining in land use planning.

Mining and tourism should co‚Äźexist¬†even in formally or legally protected areas. There are many examples of where mining co‚Äźhabits with tourism. We all know of the catastrophic results when things have gone wrong. The Donana World Heritage Site in Spain is perhaps the most painful example of this.

But we have moved on and ahead from this and must continue to improve.

It seems hard to believe but there are more examples of mines (both closed and operational) which are open to tourism than examples where eco‚Äźtourism co‚Äźexists alongside large scale industrial or agricultural development.

Protected areas in many countries prohibit mining in protected areas. Some prohibit tourism in protected areas, too. Many of the National Parks in the USA, for example, have strict management zones maintaining wilderness areas accessible only on foot.

The successful co‚Äźexistence of mining, tourism and conservation therefore depends on the context of the Protected Area, the parties involved and the conservation aims for the area.

The importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services is discussed in many global conservation forums. One, the International Council for Mining & Metals (ICMM) has 22 member companies and 32 member associations including our own, all of which commit to respect legally designated protected areas, not explore or mine in World Heritage properties and through ICMM, work with The World Conservation Union (IUCN) to address implementation.

ICMM recognizes that sufficient reform of this system will lead to recognition of categories of protected areas as ‚ÄėNo‚Äźgo‚Äô areas and develop better decision‚Äźmaking processes and assessment tools. ICMM, works with IUCN and others in developing best practice guidance to enhance our industry‚Äôs contribution to biodiversity conservation.

These efforts recognise that certain types of mining are not necessarily inconsistent with the maintenance of the integrity of critical natural habitats, particularly if combined with measures to strengthen protection of these areas from other threats, such as over‚Äźgrazing and hunting. Underground mining in particular, can have minimal surface impacts in area terms, especially if surface infrastructure is located outside of the critical natural habitat.

Our industry does not live outside its environment any longer. Historically the costs of our use of and impact to ecosystem services and biodiversity were not included in financial balance sheets.

There has been growing recognition that the private sector must play a greater role in biodiversity conservation than it has in the past. We now recognise that¬†nature and development have to complement each other as they are interdependent¬†and there is a need to optimise these inter‚Äźdependencies.

Mark Rachovides, President of Euromines