Most business activities are specific by their need of well conducted and win-win type social and community dialogue. This is crucial for mining industry, which affects the human environment . Českomoravský štěrk, a.s., a member of HeidelbergCement Group Czech Republic is not an exception. It runs excavation of natural stone, sand and gravel at 26 sites in the Czech Republic. Due to the historical context, quarries and pits are often in proximity to towns. Especially in these cases, relations between mining company and local communities is well tested by the course of time.
For example, theeginnings of industrial gravel and sand excavation close to historical town Tovačov in the heart of Moravia comes from 1950s. Four lakes were created step by step, which now extend over 380 hectares. This site of excavation is known as Tovačov Lakes.
This place represents an example of compilance between excavation, nature protection and human activities and it illustrates the benefits of mining for society, if needed dialogue between all sides works properly.
Apart from sand and gravel extraction, these lakes with their crystalline water and natural character of their surroundings offer much more. One of them is utilized as a drinking water reservoir for the region over a long period. Fishing is allowed in these lakes and the company Českomoravský štěrk ensures that there is never a lack of fish. Tovačov Lakes are renowned for their huge catches thus they attract fishermen from far away.
There are also other subjects of public interest. Bathing is allowed in one lake and a Yacht club is run at another. International swimming competitions for hardy and long-distance swimmers are held there as well as occasional training of special and rescue units.
The natural value of this area was appreciated by integration of these lakes into the European network of nature protection areas NATURA 2000. Lakes are situated on important bird migration route and they are also a wintering site for many species thus they became popular destination with ornithologists. Concrete islands, enabling nesting of endangered bird species, a common tern, are floating on these lakes for over 10 years. Monitoring and ringing of these birds takes place annually in cooperation with the Czech Society for Ornithology.
Cooperation with the town Tovačov was always essential and former interest in how to evaluate the impact of excavation on its surroundings was replaced by joint interest in how to link effectively both broad and specific needs of the public alongside environmental protection and excavation continuance. An agreement about dividing the area into zones with different use and use intensity was made between the mining company, town representatives and environmentalists. A non-governmental organisation „For Tovačov Lakes“, was established for this purpose. Besides cooperating groups already mentioned, another member of the organisation is a local villages association. After all, mining activities with Českomoravský štěrk attract every year more than 10 000 visitors, who come to relax or do sports.
Tovačov Lakes have got their web presentation not only on company´s website, but also on websites of ornithologists, fishermen and the town. Information board, viewing tower for bird watching, parking places and cleaning service all deliver a high standard . Still excavation is performed without restriction at the same time. It is not a coincidence that the Commission for Environment of the Olomouc Region Council chose Tovačov Lakes for its meeting and that the Lakes are the goal of many excursions. The highlight of these excursions is usually a tugboat cruise.
Similarly to Tovačov Lakesmining sites of Českomoravský štěrk are open to the public. Stone quarries Bělkovice and Hrabůvka were visited in June 2015 by participants of international geological conference „31st IAS Meeting of Sedimentology“. Specialists set out in central Moravia from Cracow, Poland, where the conference was held. The sand pit Tasovice in south Moravia was visited in Spring 2015 by several groups of schoolchildren, who learnt about excavation, life in a pit and the restoration process.
Openness is one of the prerequisites for good neighbourly relationship,s which is the base for succesful and long-term activity of a company, which changes human environment,, but these changes can be positive.
Českomoravský štěrk, a.s., a member of HeidelbergCement Group