Publication details


STRADE policy brief no. 04/2016: Outlining Environmental Challenges in the Non-Fuel Mining Sector


See Even with the large improvements in national legal requirements and industry engagement, and including the manifold examples of successfully implemented responsible mining practices in the last decade, 21st century mining still leaves vast room for improvement. Among other improvement areas, countries need more governance capacities, mining companies seek resources for environmental management practices, and old mining sites need better technical levels; overall better mining management is necessary to prevent detrimental environmental impacts. Since many raw material exporting countries are affected by these poorly managed mining sites, a large share of Europe’s mineral imports is therefore assumed to come from such poorly managed mining sites. International, EU and national policies could tackle the most relevant environmental impacts that occur at poorly managed sites (e.g. groundwater contamination by acid mine drainage and tailing dam failures, soil contamination from dust and erosion, damage of ecosystems, loss of agricultural land and ecological disaster from tailing dam bursts). Such environmental protections would not only benefit the environment but also the populations most severely affected by mining. This policy brief found that the EU’s Mining Waste Directive in 2006 provides a sound base for reducing environmental impact from mining. In contrast, the European Raw Material Initiative promotes ‘sustainable mining’ without specifying precise targets and policy instruments – an issue to be addressed within the STRADE dialogue process. Upcoming STRADE policy briefs will analyse socioeconomic impacts from mineral mining and investigate voluntary initiatives and EU policies in the minerals sector that aim towards reducing environmental impacts.

Date:September 22nd, 2016
File: STRADE_PB04_D4-1_EnvCh...enges_Sep2016_FINAL.pdf (0.48 MB)
Author/Authors:Buchert, Matthias
Schüler, Doris
Degreif, Stefanie
Dolega, Peter

STRADE project (Horizon 2020 programme); Öko-Institut e.V.

Project Name:Strategic Dialogue on Sustainable Raw Materials for Europe (STRADE)
Topics:Mineral resources and metals Smart regulation of resources