European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Mineral resources in sustainable land-use planning

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Minland (Mineral resources in sustainable land-use planning)

Reporting period: 2019-02-01 to 2019-11-30

The complexity in the supply chain of raw materials has increased at national, regional and local scale. Conflicting needs and uses of land has lead to a continuous decrease of available land for exploration and extraction of mineral raw materials. A consequence is that supply of mineral raw materials within the EU is at risk.
The inter-connection of legislation, permitting processes, land use- and minerals policies, as well as the availability of data leads to a complex process with many parameters that influence the eventual use of land for mineral extraction. This must be seen from a systemic perspective. Some specific challenges are:
• Competing land use from e.g. Natura 2000, city planning, and infrastructure in densely populated areas; cases where mineral resources are often neglected or poorly addressed in land-use planning
• Complex diversity of policies, legislations and practices regarding mineral resource development, compared to other land-uses.
• Possibilities for underground exploration and exploitation combined with other land use
• Current land-use planning fails to address the dynamic and cyclic aspects of mineral exploitation
• Impact of acceptance of mineral land use
• INSPIRE compliant documentation and spatial databases of reserves/deposit areas is of importance for influencing on the future land use
The MinLand project has focussed upon solutions enabling access to areas with actual or potentially valuable resources for mineral exploration and exploitation activities within the EU in order to secure European access to necessary raw materials. To achieve this goal, the MinLand project pursue four objectives:
Objective 1 "knowledge repository" provides a comprehensive and structured overview of present policies, existing data repositories, earlier and ongoing EU projects and good practices based upon MinLand industry land-use case studies. The case studies conducted cover the process from exploration to mining to re-use of post-mining area.
Objective 2 "facilitate minerals and land use policy making" elaborates on: guidelines for linking land use- and mineral policies; linking mineral deposits of public importance (MDoPI) with safeguarding of mineral raw materials within EU and the implications for land use planning. The analysis of case studies provide important status information and conclusions for practitioner guidelines. This will be further elaborated upon solutions to safeguarding and the strong connection to evaluation of land for mineral exploration and exploitation v.s. other land uses.
Objective 3 "strengthen transparent land use practices" addresses issues such as: adequate land use data; adequate geological information; INSPIRE compatibility; necessary information; necessary tools; necessary instruments, such as PERC and UNFC, FRB, etc. Analyses of case studies addressing these issues provide input for the design of a selection of best practices. Conclusions and information gathered within the project tend to provide an important source at local, regional, national and EU-scale, for transparent land use practices.
Objective 4 "foster networking" identifies relevant stakeholders among the practitioners (i.e. land-use planners and mining authorities at local, regional and national levels etc.) and organises an interactive and open participation process, ensuring knowledge exchange and continuous learning, and supporting the dissemination of good practices.
During the MinLand project 35 deliverables have been produced and submitted.
Criteria and input data to the project has been established within WP2 and WP3. The retrieval of the actual information into MinLand project is based upon interaction and consultation with authorities at local, regional and national scale, mining industry and land-use specialist. A poll regarding practices, policies and legislations was initially performed in WP2 (Ms2 and MS3) and combined with mineral land use cases (MS6, MS7, D3.1 D3.2) addressing exploration, extraction and mining-policies and related legislations, policies and practices (D2.2).
The 14 MinLand exploration, mining and mineral policy cases have been selected in order to retrieve good-practice information from various parts of Europe, for metallic minerals, industrial minerals and aggregates. The different commodities face different challenges in the land-use practice.
The project analyse and retrived information from metalic mineral resources, construction minerals (aggregates) and insutrial minerals (W2, WP3, WP4, WP5, WP6, WP7).
The project has identified models for land use described in WP2, WP3 WP4, WP5, WP6 and WP7 deliverables (database). This includes challenges for extraction activities that have been analysed and updated. The workshops in WP7 has proven an invaluable tool.
The workshops made an essential tool in the form of sharing of solutions for mineral land use and mineral land use related issues, like stakeholder issues, practical aspects of minerals land use and permitting feeding into the Good Practice aspects.
The Good Practice aspects have additionally derived from work in the WP2 and WP3 (Cases) has been sorted into an analysis in WP4 and WP6 but also with additional components from WP5
MinLand project contributes to progress beyond state of the art with its holistic approach of mineral land use connected to permitting, which contribute to successful extraction projects. The project is based on compilation, analysis and assessment of members states mineral and land-use planning related policies to gather together good practice elements.
Specifically, the project has retrieved models that show successful implementation of linking mineral and land-use policies, how to implement a mineral land use at equal level with other land uses and how critical raw materials are treated in land use planning. Particular aspects that have been raised is the need for in-depth knowledge of mineral deposits, that these are part of land use planning and also of land necessary for industrial development.
Initial findings by MinLand show though that sustainable land use outcomes can only be delivered through a holistic view. Thus:
• Mineral land use planning comes in two stages, pre-exploration with well documented deposits in order to avoid sterilisation, secondly during the exploration and extraction phase. Exploration is an activity that can be occurring in parallel with other land use and once the deposit is well established it needs to enter land use in order to protect possible future extraction.
• Mining, biodiversity, agriculture and other land uses can be complementary as sequential or neighbouring activities.
• Early stakeholder engagement is critical with a legally required part and a voluntary adapted part from the industry.
• Government planning decisions that impact land access and land use arrangements should be transparent, evidence based, and consider the social, economic, environmental sustainability pillars of developing or sterilise mineral resources.
• Changes in land use values, mining practices or technology may provide for future compatibility for minerals development. Any restrictions on land access should allow for future re-evaluation.
• Willingness, capacity, competence among the involved authorities is a prerequisite.
• Land use and related permitting must be done in a flexible time-efficient efficient way in order to keep the permitting times down to acceptable durations.