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Final Report Summary - IMPACTMIN (Impact Monitoring of Mineral Resources Exploitation)

In Europe, mining has a long tradition since mineral resources have always been needed (and will be so) for economic development. Political will strives that Europe ensures itself in the mid- and long-term with the sustainable supply of raw materials in order to support growth with innovation. Social and environmental impacts of mining will continue to be an important issue in the 21st century as well. IMPACTMIN project recognized that old and new deposits and their surroundings require adequate management and stakeholders and local people need a good relation with the industrial-economic activities related to mineral resources exploitation.
Impact Monitoring of Mineral Resources Exploitation is one of the most exciting topics of the raw materials sector recently. IMPACTMIN (FP7) followed up on the findings of MINEO (FP5) and PECOMINES (FP6) projects to investigate the state-of-the-art methods for demonstrating best practices and reveal recent methodological and technical advancements in the field of impact monitoring and natural resources management. The IMPACTMIN project surfaced actual issues on how the environmental and social impacts interact and what kind of legislative aspects control this sector.
IMPACTMIN examined to what extent "responsible mining" is implemented by using real-life case studies. Carbon footprint reduction practices and people's perception on mining have been investigated in order to understand where gaps or challenges can be in implementing different - to date voluntary - schemes that can be applied when practicing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the mining industry.
IMPACTMIN addressed the need for the provision of timely data and products to stakeholders; wherein decision making is based on a coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth Observation and information, which is the main objective of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). IMPACTMIN project has investigated the current state-of-the-art technology to monitor subtle changes in the environment caused by mining activities and how these could be properly reported. IMPACTMIN has developed new methods and a corresponding toolset for the environmental and socio-economic impact monitoring of mining activities using also Earth Observation (EO) techniques. Cutting-edge technology has been employed for the combined use of satellite EO data, aerial measurements and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
Mine wastes, abandoned mines, current and future mining sites are continuously impacting their surroundings and their future management is still to face with proper regulation and reclamation actions. Recent research showed that Europe, with a proper strategy, will continue mineral extraction at several old and new locations thus legislative and research actions are needed for supporting the future sustainable raw material exploitation.

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