Sustainable supply in the EU
While the EU is currently dependent on the importation of many metals, the overall potential for mining and quarrying in Europe is strong. In spite of this, the land area available for extraction in the EU is constantly decreasing, turning access to land into a key challenge for the extractive industry. In order to facilitate the sustainable supply of raw materials from European deposits, it is important to have the right legal and regulatory framework conditions in place.
In the Raw Materials Initiative strategy document published on 2 February 2011, the Commission proposed a number of targeted measures seen as particularly important for promoting investment in extractive industries in Europe.
In preparation for this strategy, the Commission established an ad-hoc expert group on the exchange of best practices in the area of land use planning and administrative conditions for exploration and extraction. The group submitted its report to the Commission in June 2010: Abridged report [3 MB] , Full report [13 MB]
At EU level guidelines have been developed that aim to provide clarity on how to reconcile extractive activities in or near Natura 2000 areas with environmental protection.
Another requirement for a strong European mining industry is the improvement of the EU minerals knowledge database. Efforts are under way to improve the EU's knowledge database of mineral deposits through better networking of national geological surveys and making optimal use of the satellite-based information system GMES.
Finally, the EU will continue to promote research projects that focus on the extraction and processing of raw materials, such as those promoted within the EU's 7th Framework Programme. Also, the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources focuses on innovative exploration and extraction technologies that will maximise economic and environmental benefits.