The purpose of the European Commission Guidance on Non-energy mineral extraction and Natura 2000 is to address issues for which the European Commission is responsible. However, the extractive industry has its own guidelines on how to prevent the loss of biodiversity in all areas of operation, some of which go beyond, but do not specifically address, particular requirements of the EU Nature Directives.

This “Guide to the Guide” constitutes part of a Biodiversity Toolkit promoted by Euromines, which is otherwise made up of previously existing documents. It is intended to assist companies in their interpretation of the European Commission Guidance and discussion with permitting authorities and should be read in conjunction with the European Commission Guidance. The Toolkit addresses a broader range of issues concerning extractive industry impacts on biodiversity as follows:

Issue to be addressed Industry Tool
environmental impact assessment
compliance
European Commission Guidance
This “Guide to the Guide”
conservation beyond legal requirements
stakeholder consultation
ICMM Good Practice Guidance
monitoring and assurance
codes of conduct

Good Practices for the Collection of Biodiversity Baseline Data

E.g., A cross-sector guide for implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy
GRI Mining and Metals Sector Supplement
ICMM Sustainable Development Framework

Small and Medium Enterprise practices Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers’ Guidelines for Exploration Work

Since 2003 Euromines’ Guidelines on Sustainable Development for the European Extractive Sector have included the commitment to “Promote the conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use planning”¹ . Euromines is also an associate member of the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) and has contributed directly to the development of the ICMM Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity (2006). In 2009, Euromines also produced a book of 101 examples of beneficial mine closure in partnership with the Post-Mining Alliance².

In return, Euromines is actively seeking greater clarity, transparency, consistency and rigour in the processes by which areas of land are managed as part of the Natura 2000 network. The Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU Raw Materials Initiative³ (RMI) and the European Commission Guidance should be used to underline the need to promote increased investment in the EU’s existing natural assets.

In many Member States the process of designating Natura 2000 sites took place in a hurried way, in the absence of any consideration of other land-uses and with more focus on quantity than quality. Therefore, factual demonstration of the biodiversity value of Natura 2000 sites will often be missing and this causes problems related to land-access, mineral planning and environmental assessment in the extractive sector.

Unfortunately, European Commission guidance documents do not necessarily create the legal certainty that extractive companies need to justify expensive exploration projects, baseline studies and impact assessments. It may therefore prove necessary at a later date to integrate elements of the European Commission Guidance into national or provincial legislation.

¹ Access the Sustainable Development Guidelines

² https://www.edenproject.com/shop/101-Things-To-Do-With-A-Hole-In-The-Ground

³ http://www.euromines.org/what-we-do/raw-materials-initiative

The issues of resource availability and sustainability go hand in hand as major concerns for the future of raw materials in Europe. SUPRIM aims to identify a consistent, empirically verifiable cause-and-effect chain linking flows of natural resources to sustainability impacts.

The general equations for characterisation Life Cycle Impact Assessment models developed by SUPRIM represent a new state-of-art and are the most reliable of their kind thanks to the unique mix of expertise existing within the project consortium. Read more in the SUPRIM final product publication.

The Euromines Position Paper regarding the establishing the framework to facilitate sustainable investment (EU Taxonomy) is now available.

As the recognized representative of the European metals and minerals mining industry, Euromines welcomes the Commission’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan for a greener and cleaner economy and agrees that a socio - economically efficient, sustainable and flexible financial system is essential for long-term value creation.

The European mining industry plays a critical role in underpinning economic growth. The development of mineral resources is a pillar for many national economies, in terms of contribution to gross domestic product, foreign direct investment, tax & royalty revenues as well as other governmental revenues. Even more, the mining industry produces more than 42 different metals and minerals and employs 350.000 people directly and about 4 times as many indirectly. Modern extraction and processing of minerals and metals has brought huge benefits to society while reducing pressures on the environment, addressing green-house gas emissions, tackling pollution, minimising waste and improving efficiency in the use of natural resources. Even more, the mineral industry will continue to enable downstream sectors to realise all these improvements.

In this issue of Euromines Newsletter you will find the following articles:

  • EU-Canada Mineral Investment Facility Project
  • Agnico Eagle Finland – Proud of our Past, Focused on our Future
  • Exporting Canadian Mining Expertise to Grow a Gold Mining Industry in Greece
  • The EU industrial policy, raw materials and the CETA agreement
  • The EU’s feasibility study on a Minerals investment facility - First Workshop in Brussels

Euromines has made significant contributions to the science of Life Cycle Assessment, on which the Environmental Footprint methods are based (click here for a full list of peer-reviewed publications). Since 2013, Euromines has been actively engaged in the European Commission’s Environmental Footprint (EF) and has helped develop, during the EF Pilot Phase, the ‘Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for Metal Sheets in Various Applications’. Through our involvement in the EF Pilot Phase, the PEF Guidelines have been improved, but not all the defined shortcomings have been resolved to ensure that the methodology is sufficiently robust for use in EU policy, and does not lead to inappropriate results. In particular, the need to develop a better method of assessing the impacts of Resource Use in the years to come has been formally expressed and the European Commission has committed to invest jointly with the industry in the development of an alternative approach to better quantify the potential for conservation of resources.

Read the full version of the Euromines feedback to Legislative proposal on substantiating green claims using PEF.

Euromines brochure is a brief overview of the importance of mineral raw materials for the EU future development. Raw materials are the key enablers of many important policies that will shape our future, such as adaptation to and mitigation of the climate change challenges.

The EU has the potential to increase its capacity to source mineral raw materials domestically and sustainably. It is not a lack of resources; it is a lack of exploration with latest technology that feeds the myth of depleting resources. By increasing mineral domestic production, Europe becomes less dependent and improves its sustainable supply chain.

Mineral Raw Materials in modern society are the lifeblood of the economy. They are the basis for many sectors like agriculture, construction, IT, electronics, energy, chemistry, manufacturing, medicine. Raw materials depending industries in the EU provided 206 billion EUR of added value.

The economic importance of the raw materials sector goes far beyond the sector’s own economic activities.
Whilst engaging about 350.000 jobs within the EU, there are more than 24.6 million jobs in downstream
manufacturing industries depend on the secure supply of mineral raw materials.

The Euromines Annual Report 2019 is now available! This year, we present what Euromines is doing to secure supply chains in a rapidly changing world. The European mineral raw materials sector supports a wide variety of industries through the supply of raw materials, and in this role as well as within the mining sector itself, we must prioritise both sustainable efforts and competitiveness.

As Euromines President Mark Rachovides states in the Foreword:

“Today’s decision makers’ contexts, terms of reference, priorities and language have changed. They want and fear different things that reflect a new consensus, whether we like that or not, and that is an opportunity, not a threat.”

As always, we are certain in the ability of Euromines and our members to rise to the occasion and find solutions to today’s challenges.

Euromines Annual Report 2016 “Why Not Invest in Europe!” is now available. This theme addresses the challenge the extractive industry faces of supplying minerals and metals to 500 million Europeans, as well as the steps the industry and in particular Euromines members are taking to help meet those needs. 

As Euromines President Mark Rachovides explains, “In short, our industry must belong to more people, be recognized as of value and as part of Europe’s future and its hope.” 

In this report, you will find information about key achievements that are taking us closer to this goal, such as important international partnerships, addressing the mineral and economic potential in Europe, maximizing benefits of technological growth and the continuous pursuit of improving policies and practices. 

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