Access to mineral resources in Europe is one of the pillars of the RMI. This leads to the need for safeguarding important mineral resources (including CRM) for present and future generations to exploit. Therefore, the integration of mineral resources policies into land-use planning at different scales is a key factor for achieving the goals of the RMI. Land-use planning practices across Europe can be described as a complex interaction between local, regional, national and European scale needs and actions, in which mineral resources play a lesser role compared to other societal interests. Consequently, the "polygonisation" of European land into areas suitable for a specific use or protection is progressing at speed, in most cases without taking mineral resources into consideration, sometimes being in conflict with challenging CRM interests.
The three parts of the commitment explores the possibilities and opportunities for incorporating mineral resources policies into land-use planning:
1. Define the important challenges regarding mineral resources policies at national level and land-use planning, and design a methodology and template for the case studies.
2. Develop the case studies illustrating the challenges on different scales.
3. Draw together the lessons from the case studies; prepare proposals for guidelines and best practices;identify the implications for mineral exploration and development policies.
The implemented methodology and resulting information will be connected to EU platforms as Minerals4EU and the European initiatives dealing with the evaluation of land use development, LUISA (Land-Use-based Integrated Sustainability Assessment Modelling Platform, https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/luisa)
The partners significant competence and experience in mineral resource land management lays a solid foundation for recommendations. This will enable successful land-use planning in relation to the entire value chain of mineral resource development.
In the commitment, we aim to contribute to European-wide assessment of cross-sectorial competition for land and conduct a series of case studies, exploring the challenges related to minerals ( e.g., metallic and industrial minerals with CRM and aggregates) in land-use planning at national level. From case studies, best practices will be proposed through the development of guidelines and examples. The case studies will be conducted by the geological surveys members of the EGS together with some key players in industry and local authorities. In many European countries, the geological surveys have the responsibility within their jurisdiction for implementing mineral resource policies and planning, and strengthen the alignment towards a pan-European strategy and best practices Thus, the commitment relates to the EIP target “Framework conditions for primary raw materials” in Priority Area II.A: Improving Europe’s raw materials framework conditions, and in particular actions 2, 4 and 6 of II.2, for the benefit of the industry and the society taking into account how to integrate with the national mineral policies. It has been developed in order to address the complex issues relating to the exploitation of mineral resources within a modern land-use planning framework. It also connects to “SC15-2016-2017: Raw Materials policy support actions”, action “d) Linking land use planning policies to national mineral policies and partly to action c).
Safeguarding must also relate to future needs and undiscovered mineral resources. Therefore, a flexible land use for minerals should take into account prospectivity, exploration, mining development and operations, remediation and after-use and secondary resources, linking to SIP action areas “Exploration” and “Innovative extraction of raw materials”.
The objective of this commitment is to facilitate the sustainable exploitation of Europe’s mineral deposits for the benefit of European industry and society, considering national, regional and local socio-economic developments. This includes support for the European minerals sector; support for European expertise and best practice in minerals exploration and development; assists in the security of supply of raw materials to Europe’s manufacturing sector; thus support development of green and low carbon technologies. Mineral resources in general, including CRM, will be covered. The commitment will address challenges facing the minerals sector by analysing case studies including conflicting and competing land use, valuation of mineral resources, life-cycle analysis of mineral resource exploitation, including secondary resources and land use of closed mines.
1) Identifying key challenges and perspectives related to land-use planning and mineral resources and how this can be linked to the national mineral policies. Examples, considering different perspectives such as, known versus unknown deposits;; or EU versus local scale. Other aspects may include e.g.: how to compare mineral resources with ecosystem services; land-use conflict analysis; mineral resources in indigenous people areas. In addition, a template/procedure for case studies will be established, so that case histories can be compared.
2) Develop the case studies illustrating the challenges. The aim is that the case studies will collectively focus on different perspectives and scales. Below are some examples of possible areas to study:
a. Unknown resources and land-use planning
b. Regional/county-level integrated land-use planning
c. Urban planning (regional future scenario modelling)
d. Indigenous people (particular land-use challenges)
e. Land use conflict analyses (case studies including GIS modelling)
f. Mine/quarry life cycle (project life cycle planning; transient impact)
g. Surface to sub-surface (3D data integration)
3) Guidelines and input for best practices. Developed guidelines should take account INSPIRE, Minerals4EU foundation, EUMINET Commitment, EURARE, Minatura2020, Mica, ProSUM, and other relevant EU projects. This part of the commitment is aimed at defining principles for securing sustainable use and access to mineral resources, and also land use after extraction of mineral resources by means of long-term land-use planning. In order for improved inclusion of mineral data in land use management a connection should be made to existing and planned information infrastructures such as Minerals4EU and the EU Raw Materials Knowledge Base (EURMKB) and the LUISA platform. Thus the commitment will furnish inputs for the assessments of land use development and conflicts at a national level in Europe. The LUISA platform can further be used in the linkages between regional and local development and CRM exploitation will be stressed and proposed in existing framework. All of this will allow evaluating options and scenarios of exploitation of mineral resources at national level considering important aspects in land-use such as demography, socio-economic trends, geographic location, and the necessary infrastructure (e.g. transport, energysupply). The expected outputs will contribute on how to include the concept of mineral deposits of public importance in the national mineral policies looking at it also from a European perspective.
The commitment highlight key challenges in mineral resource land use management and propose solutions for better synergies between mineral policies and land management systems. The commitment use key challenges in mineral resource land management to derive better tools for land management with focus on both current and future needs of mineral resources. This will lead to best practice recommendations from studies of implemented national mineral policies embedded into land use management. Areal conflicts can be either solved or risks reduced through the integration of areal-defined mineral resource information with other land use data.
The main impacts will be to:
a. strengthen the link between exploration and development of mineral deposits into national land-use and mineral policies.
b. secure a stronger national and EU long term management of mineral resources (including CRM).
c. achieve the objectives of the EIP on Raw Materials, particularly in improving conditions for sustainable access and supply of raw materials in the EU and links to “Exploration” and “Innovative extraction of raw materials”. The results can have a direct impact on action area ”Strategic international dialogues”;
d. more transparent and efficient exploration and mining permitting and licensing processes in the EU and an improved climate for investors and industry;
e. improved land-use planning based on a better knowledge of identified or potential deposits and their potential environmental impacts;
f. bring mineral resources in parity with other land use and natural resources whilst implementing the environmental acquits.
g. foster dialog and convergence of the actors dealing or depending on land-planning towards best practices and focus on solutions of land use conflicts.
Having in place a qualified and properly skilled EU players it will be possible to develop best practices approaching the sustainable management of mineral resources in relation to land-use planning. One of the strengths of the Partnership is the strong operational capability, its experience on European mineral resources, and its competence in related policy making but also practitioners from industry and local authority. Collectively, National Geological Survey Organisations (NGSOs) have participated in over 180 EU research projects. They are key public holders of thematic, geology related data, information, expertise, knowledge, technology, service, and educational skills providers, to a wide range of stakeholders including local, regional, and national / authorities, economists, civil society and professionals.
EGS is the organisation of the Geological Surveys of Europe. EGS was part of the INSPIRE work carried out in the M4EU project, and is involved in MICA and ProSUM projects, working on communicating the projects’ benefits to its stakeholders. The commitment will benefit from EGS’s experience in establishing an effective dialogues among different stakeholders from all over Europe, and in communicating science in the frame of large EC projects.