The EU mining industry may be part of the solution to Europe’s raw material shortage, but sustainability of mining is a key requirement if it is to be revived.
Mining and quarrying activities vary widely in profitability, employment and geographical distribution.
In addition to general industrial regulation, the EU has adopted some legislation specific to mining. EU rules concern the environmental impact of mining (especially waste and groundwater), as well as occupational health and safety.
Competitiveness of mining varies across Member States (MS) and across subsectors. The EU requires that state aid to mining cease by 2018. Major challenges for the mining industry include competition for land use, a heavy licensing process and compliance with stringent environmental laws.
The European Commission (EC) promotes sustainable mining through targeted initiatives and research funding.
New technologies focus on finding further deposits in established mines, economically and environmentally viable exploration and processing of ores with low levels of mineral or metal concentration, and reducing mining’s surface footprint.