Extractive Industry

In modern societies, extractive industries play a major role. Nearly all fields rely on the mining of industrially required minerals and stones. But not only the materials themselves are a valuable resource – the natural environment, out of which these are taken, bears an immense potential for nature. Responsible primary production should therefore include efficient restoration and recultivation in the areas of extraction, to ensure the conservation and facilitation of biological diversity.

Quarries for example can be valuable habitats for many animal and plant species, when recultivated and restored to a state as nature-orientated as possible. This means that in the planning phase, a biodiversity management plan should be included already. At the quarrying sites themselves, many possibilities exist to create new habitats and foster biological diversity. Important goals are:

  • Creation of chances for a spontaneous settling of animal and plant species
  • Fostering of natural development processes
  • Decrease of plantations and artificial seedings

In this process, the education about and the inclusion of the local company staff in the activities is the basis for successful environmental protection actions. A long-term monitoring concept of the environment helps to observe the effects and if necessary adapt the measures. Conservation of biological diversity is rooted in local processes. If raw material companies get in contact with local authorities, environmental activists or initiatives that focus on biodiversity in the mining area, they can profit from their partners’ experience and use their support to conserve and strengthen local-specific ecosystems.

Opportunities

For companies as well as for nature, various opportunities exist. With consistent biodiversity management, negative influences on the environment can be reduced in former mining sites or during the extraction itself, increasing biodiversity even further. More and more companies in the extractive industry see the German federal law on nature protection as an opportunity and consider the preservation or settling of strictly protected species during the extraction already. To do so, companies need to develop a concept of measures that complies with all regulations related to the preservation of species as a basis as well as security measures for the raw material deposit.

Examples for the advantages of an environmentally responsible handling for raw material companies are:

  • Next to reputational gains, customer loyalty is improved
  • As customers as well as public authorities increasingly prefer biodiversity-friendly products, engagement here offers a competitive advantage
  • Costs and entrepreneurial risks can be reduced
  • Advantages in approval procedures, as these can be realized faster
  • Protection and safeguarding of economic bases
  • Opening up of new markets
  • Increased trust of citizens and a long-term assurance of the sites 

This way, nature also gains and balanced ecosystems can find a place on mining sites. With an anticipatory environmental management, the negative impacts and the loss of biodiversity can not only be compensated, but biological diversity can even grow.

  • If the extraction is supervised by careful management, multifaceted habitats can emerge – a rarity in densely urbanized regions.
  • Mining sites can be a valuable habitat for flora and fauna. In facilities extracting gravel, sand and stones for example, immense biological diversity can develop.
  • Excluding disturbances by visitors or leisure activities, mining sites can serve as a valuable basis for the settling of new species