Developing EU mineral resources is challenging due to reduced access to resources, public opposition, problematic permitting processes, inconsistent minerals policies, heterogeneous legislative frameworks, and a scarcity of reliable data. The objective of this commitment is to contribute to ensuring a stable and competitive supply of raw materials from EU sources to promote good governance and facilitate public acceptance. Sub-objectives are to enhance EU efforts to harmonize national mineral policies and plans, as well as permitting and reporting on primary and secondary minerals, based on best practice, so as to ease the access to primary and secondary resources, improve transnational permitting procedures, contribute to the definition of transnational standards for exchange of data and knowledge, and offer a more transparent and participative exchange of ideas with stakeholders.
The consortium members’ past and current work responds to problems described above and in the SIP, in line with the objectives described in Action area II.1: Minerals Policy Framework. OPTIMIN will contribute to implementation of the SIP by building on their knowledge and experience through a series of inter-related activities applicable to all land-based and marine, primary and secondary, non-energy mineral resources. The activities link Actions (II.1,1; II.1, 5; II.1, 7; II.9, 12) and also link to other Action areas (II.2,2; II.3,1). Activities will benefit from the multidisciplinary, multinational (43 partners) nature of the consortium.
(Act.1 - "Know") Minerals policies and also other relevant ones, primarily on waste management (including secondary raw materials) plus sustainable economic and social development and environmental preservation will be considered. Develop and utilize a set of criteria and indicators (C&I) of effective policies/legislation to examine whether minerals-relevant EU policies/legislation are achieving their stated goals, i.e., score and rank policies, identifying strengths, weaknesses, unintended consequences and gaps. Compare all mineral relevant EU and member state policies/legislation utilizing the C&I to identify areas in need of improvement and best practices. I Survey industry including SME’s, and other stakeholders, to ascertain how they believe the minerals sector is impacted by EU and national/regional policies/legislation.
(Act.2 - "Share") Assess the current EU knowledge standard related to minerals data (reserves/resources, consumption, secondary raw materials) and recommend a new, harmonized approach that identifies gaps, and a minimum and optimum set of criteria for national reporting focused on providing data suitable not only for Public Authorities but also for all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain. Identify good practice/governance with respect to the utilization of mineral classification systems in order to harmonize national primary and secondary mineral resources inventories by international standards (e.g. PERC in EU and UNFC). Contribute to a pan-European knowledge standard on policy by updating and extending the results of Legal Basics of Mineral Policy in Europe (G.Tiess, 2011), which already includes descriptions and URLs to policies and legislation, by including current policies/legislation and also links to other policy areas. Develop a Framework Directive on data/policy based on the foregoing.
(Act.3 - "Participate") Extend the SNAP capacity building and stakeholder consultation experience and Handbook beyond aggregates to the general minerals community and its various stakeholders, including identifying capacity building materials, assisting in the organization of meetings, and facilitating the interactions of diverse stakeholders. Organize workshops and knowledge-sharing events, drawing on the results of the policy comparison, identified best practices, and ranking processes, and input from Member states, and stakeholders.
(Act. 4 - "Change") Compare permitting procedures across EU, and develop a method to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of different approaches, including how they could be adapted to apply to mineral deposits of public importance. Determine what should be included in a permitting toolbox, in what format, and organized in what manner to ensure that it is applicable across different authorities and in nations with differing regulatory approaches to permitting, utilizing the SARMa/SNAP experience and methods, plus other approaches.
The key, overarching impact of OPTIMIN will be to develop a framework that provides the means to make informed decisions with respect to minerals in a more homogeneous context for the whole EU. Prior to EU level decisions for raw materials and mining sector, more accurate and comprehensive studies can be prepared.
Minerals policy, legislation, regulation, permitting and national implementation in the EU will be harmonized based on a ‘best possible compromise’. Enhanced public reporting on primary and secondary resources will improve the transparency of information on raw materials and contribute to social learning. This, combined with stakeholder consultation, will increase access to mineral resources based on greater public acceptance of minerals production. This will allow prudent use of existing and future mineral deposits, as well as former mining sites to be re-opened if appropriate, which will reduce time and costs and reduce the EU’s mineral import dependency.
Mineral Planning Policies and Supply Practices (2004 University of Leoben). 'Legal Basics of Mineral Policy in Europe' & 'General and International Mineral Policy' (both 2011, G. Tiess, OPTIMIN coordinator) . The Sustainable Aggregates Resource Management (SEE/A/151/2.4/ X-SARMa): best environmental practices, mineral policy, permitting, recycling, illegal quarrying, reclamation, decision making for sustainable aggregates management, and national and transnational sustainable supply mix. The Sustainable Aggregates Planning in SEE (SNAP-SEE, SEE/D/0167/2.4/X) : data needs and analytical methods for planning, regional/national mineral policies, plans and permitting processes review, capacity building materials and stakeholder consultations, guidance for aggregates planning, linking policies, plans, and permitting, tools for sustainable supply planning. Plus work by other partners.
Leader and coordinator