Tuesday, 1 April, 2014
On 2 February, the Commission presented its Communication on commodity markets and raw materials. This communication sets out, inter alia, what has been accomplished since the launch of the Raw Materials Initiative in the Fall of 2008 (COM (2008) 699) as well as providing guidelines for meeting the challenges laid down in the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
- Welcomes the follow‐up on the European Raw Materials Initiative and the reaffirmation of its three pillars: the fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from international sources; the fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from EU sources and the promotion of resource efficiency and recycling.
- Highlights that, although not listed as critical, Industrial Minerals are essential to European industry. Unlike most critical raw materials, they cannot be stored on a large scale to help bridge temporary shortages, and, for cost reasons, they can generally not be imported long distances. Supply from domestic sources is therefore vital for many industries and access to resources should be simplified in Europe. IMA encourages the swift implementation by Member States of the recommendations set out in the Raw Materials Initiative regarding land use planning, national minerals policy and administrative conditions for exploration and extraction.
- Supports the newly published Guidelines on the implementation of Natura 2000 legislation that clearly affirm the compatibility of mining extraction with Biodiversity preservation in or around Natura 2000 areas.
- Confirms the major role Industrial Minerals play in attaining resource efficiency objectives through the replacement of scarce or less environmentally friendly resources; through the continuous improvement of the quality and performance of the products they offer customers, thereby increasing efficiency of usage; and through the widespread implementation of sustainable mining and processing practices.
- Underlines that, although not directly recyclable, Industrial Minerals often enjoy a second or third life—or even beyond: kaolin and calcium carbonate are recycled in paper; talc is recycled in plastic ; pigments in decorative paints are recycled when buildings are turned into aggregates; silica and feldspar are recycled in glass —to name a few.
- Stresses that the sustainable access to the raw materials required to meet the 2020 strategy objectives depends on the robustness of the European Minerals Industry; and encourages EU policy makers— within the framework of the Better Regulation agenda—to assess the impact of new legislation on the competitiveness of the European Minerals Industry. IMA‐Europe would like to commend the Commission for the work it has accomplished within the framework of the Raw Material Initiative, and pledges its continued support to improve the regulatory framework and to boost innovation for a more competitive and sustainable mineral industry within the EU.
The European Industrial Minerals Association represents the European producers of andalusite, bentonite, calcium carbonate, diatomite, dolomite, feldspar, kaolin, lime, mica, plastic clays, sepiolite, silica, talc vermiculite and wollastonite, i.e. around 500 mineral companies or groups which operate around 700 mines and quarries and 750 plants throughout Europe. They offer direct employment to around 42,500 people and produce and annual volume of some 180 million tonnes of minerals, contributing a value of around 10 billion Euros to Europe’s GDP.