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European Minerals Forum focuses on resource efficiency

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
January February 2012
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members of EMF panel
Members of one of the panels at the forum

The European Minerals Association (UEPG) reports on addressing key challenges for a resource efficient industry.

Late last year, the 12th European Minerals Forum took place in the North-Rhine Westphalian Representation, Brussels. The high-level event, organised by the European minerals foundation with strong support from the Non-Energy Extractive Industry Panel (NEEIP), brought together more than 50 stakeholders and was an opportunity to address the key challenges of the industry.

At the event on 30 November, the central theme was Resource Efficiency, the major topic of 2011 for the European Union institutions (2012 will be focused on water), with the publication of a Communication in January, followed by the publication of the Roadmap in September.
Resource Efficiency has deep ramifications, with a number of key issues for the non-energy extractive industry, including access to local resources, recycling/reuse/recovery, water and biodiversity.
Abraão de Carvalho, from the European Commission Directorate General Enterprise & Industry, and Pia Bucella, from the Directorate General Environment, underlined the necessity to move the industry towards resource efficiency, while Jean-Marie Chandelle, President of Cembureau, emphasised on behalf of the NEEIP (Non-Energy Extractive Industry Panel) that resource efficiency goes together with local access to resources. Taxation on resources and reducing red tape were debated in depth.
These keynote addresses led to round-tables, which allowed lively debates, moderated by the journalist Paul Ames, on a number of issues including Best Practices in Minerals Planning and Permitting Procedures - What is the Final Goal?
Pekka Suomela, from the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy; Alain Pasquier from the French Aggregates Association (UNPG); César Luaces Frades from the Spanish Aggregates Federation (FdA) and Mark Plummer from the Department for Communities and Local Government in the United Kingdom, exchanged their respective experiences related to Minerals Planning and Permitting Procedures. The importance of dialogue was underlined.

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Reinhard Bütikofer, Tom Harrisson and Brian James
Reinhard Bütikofer, Tom Harrisson and Brian James at the meeting

Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials – Turning Challenges into Opportunities?

Member of the European Parliament Reinhard Bütikofer (Greens, Germany), Rapporteur on the EU Raw Materials Strategy, although emphasising the necessity of recycling and resource efficiency, expressed his personal opposition to taxation, which was very much welcomed by the industry.
Professor Tom Harrison, from the Dundee University, Scotland, presented his ongoing project to develop an indicator which would enable the measurement of resource efficiency with a simple, pragmatic yet fair view.
Brian James, Chair of the European platform of recycled aggregates (EPRA), explained the challenges to increase recycling, and insisted on the need to reduce red tape.
This was complemented by Thierry Salmona, President of the Industrial Minerals Association (IMA-Europe), who explained that the industry had to rely on the final users for recycling.

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Abraão de Carvalho and Pia Bucella
Abraão de Carvalho and Pia Bucella underlined the necessity to move the industry towards resource efficiency

Reconciling Extraction and Biodiversity: Aspiration or Reality?

Pia Bucella (DG Environment) and Hans Friederich, Director for Europe of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) strongly supported the “no net loss” principle, and acknowledged the industry’s commitment to biodiversity.
Jim Rushworth, vice president Environment and Public Affairs Quarries for the Aggregates & Concrete sections of Lafarge, highlighted the crucial importance of a simple set of indicators to measure progress on biodiversity.
Stakeholders expressed their concerns over the misperception from local authorities that there should be no extraction within Natura 2000 areas.
Pia Bucella indeed re-affirmed that the European legislation did not forbid extraction. This very fruitful exchange between a well acknowledged nature conservation organisation, Director for Nature, Biodiversity & Land Use at the European Commission, and the Industry, led to the proposal to organise a workshop on Natura 2000, with the objective to bring together the local competent authorities and the industry and to present the EC Guidance on Non-Energy Extractive Industry and Natura 2000.

Companies in this article

Department for Communities and Local Government
European Commission
European minerals foundation
European Parliament
European platform of recycled aggregates
European Union
Industrial Minerals Association
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Ministry of Employment and the Economy
Reinhard Bütikofer

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