Special Issue "Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU"

A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Krzysztof Galos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences Wybickiego 7A, 31261 Kraków, Poland
Interests: minerals management; economic geology; mineral policy; mineral deposits valuation and safeguarding; applied mineralogy; circular economy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The EU is facing fundamental changes in global markets in the availability of raw mineral materials. One of the three pillars of the EU’s mineral policy is to secure a balanced supply of raw mineral materials within the EU. A frequent lack of social acceptance of mining (social license to operate—SLO), intensive urbanization and infrastructure development, and the needs of agriculture and nature protection mean that the areas available for exploration and exploitation of deposits, which could be a source of minerals for the next generations of EU citizens, are becoming more and more limited. This problem has a diverse significance and advancement in individual European countries, especially in the scope of such elements of the expected mineral deposit safeguarding system as: methods of valorization (multicriteria assessment) of mineral deposits, mineral deposit safeguarding instruments, social acceptance of geological and mining activities, possibilities of exploration and exploitation of deposits in nature-protected areas, integration of mineral policy with land use policy, and assessment of the potential threat to Europe’s minerals security due to limited access to mineral deposits within the EU. In the last decade, this extensive topic has been the subject of many strategic EU documents in the field of mineral policy, as well as of numerous implemented research projects, among others also under the Horizon2020 Program (e.g., MINATURA2020, MINLAND). It was also undertaken to a varying extent by individual EU member states.

In this context, this Special Issue was designed to enable presentation of results of research in this field. We welcome papers that report on the theoretical developments and/or practical implementations that contribute to meeting these challenges.

Prof. Dr. Krzysztof Galos
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • EU minerals security
  • Mineral policy
  • Multicriteria assessment of mineral deposits
  • Land use policy
  • Mineral deposit safeguarding instruments
  • Social license to operate

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Potential Benefits and Constraints of Development of Critical Raw Materials’ Production in the EU: Analysis of Selected Case Studies
Resources 2021, 10(7), 67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10070067 - 28 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
Major benefits and constraints related to mineral extraction within the EU have been identified on the examples of selected critical raw materials’ deposits. Analyzed case studies include the following ore deposits: Myszków Mo-W-Cu (Poland), Juomasuo Au-Co (Finland), S. Pedro das Águias W-Sn (Portugal), [...] Read more.
Major benefits and constraints related to mineral extraction within the EU have been identified on the examples of selected critical raw materials’ deposits. Analyzed case studies include the following ore deposits: Myszków Mo-W-Cu (Poland), Juomasuo Au-Co (Finland), S. Pedro das Águias W-Sn (Portugal), Penouta Nb-Ta-Sn (Spain), Norra Kärr REEs (Sweden) and Trælen graphite (Norway). They represent different stages of development, from the early/grassroot exploration stage, through advanced exploration and active mining, up to reopening of abandoned mines, and refer to different problems and constraints related to the possibility of exploitation commencement. The multi-criteria analysis of the cases has included geological and economic factors as well as environmental, land use, social acceptance and infrastructure factors. These factors, in terms of cost and benefit analysis, have been considered at three levels: local, country and EU levels. The analyzed cases indicated the major obstacles that occur in different stages of deposit development and need to be overcome in order to enable a new deposit exploitation commencement. These are environmental (Juomasuo and Myszków), spatial (Juomasuo) as well as social constraints (Norra Kärr, Juomasuo). In the analyzed cases, the most important constraints related to future deposit extraction occur primarily at a local level, while some important benefits are identified mainly at the country and the EU levels. These major benefits are related to securing long-term supplies for the national industries and strategically important EU industry sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
On the Possibilities of Critical Raw Materials Production from the EU’s Primary Sources
Resources 2021, 10(5), 50; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10050050 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
Sufficient supplies of critical raw materials (CRMs) for rapidly developing technologies, e.g., Li-ion batteries, wind turbines, photovoltaics, digitization, etc., have become one of the main economic challenges for the EU. Due to growing import dependency and associated risk of supply disruptions of these [...] Read more.
Sufficient supplies of critical raw materials (CRMs) for rapidly developing technologies, e.g., Li-ion batteries, wind turbines, photovoltaics, digitization, etc., have become one of the main economic challenges for the EU. Due to growing import dependency and associated risk of supply disruptions of these raw materials from third countries, there is a need to encourage their domestic production. This is an important starting point for EU value chains crucial for the sustainable economic growth of the whole Union. This contribution has evaluated the possibilities of CRMs supply from the EU’s primary sources. A three-step approach, including an assessment of CRMs’ importance for the EU’s economic growth, their significance in at least two of the three strategic industrial sectors (i.e., renewable energy, e-mobility, defense and aerospace), and their potential availability from EU mineral deposits, has been applied. Results of the analysis have shown that, of 29 critical mineral raw materials (according to the 2020 EC list), the potential to develop manufacturing from the Union mineral deposits exists for 11 CRMs, i.e., cobalt, graphite (natural), HREE, LREE, lithium, magnesium, niobium, PGMs, silicon metal, titanium, and tungsten, while some other CRMs, namely gallium, germanium, indium, and vanadium can be recovered as by-products. Measures to mitigate EU import dependency have been also proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
Safeguarding of Key Minerals Deposits as a Basis of Sustainable Development of Polish Economy
Resources 2021, 10(5), 48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10050048 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 611
Abstract
Secure and sustainable supply of minerals is important for the stable development of a country’s economy, as well as the global economy. Poland’s economic performance—as a dynamically developing country—is also largely dependent on the availability of minerals and security of their supplies both [...] Read more.
Secure and sustainable supply of minerals is important for the stable development of a country’s economy, as well as the global economy. Poland’s economic performance—as a dynamically developing country—is also largely dependent on the availability of minerals and security of their supplies both from internal sources and form imports. In Poland, 42 key minerals—i.e., those of fundamental importance for the proper functioning of the economy and satisfying the living needs of the society—have been recently indicated. From among them, 19 key minerals have been recognized by authors as having a proven resource base in Poland and—on the other hand—having moderately- or strongly growing domestic consumption trends. An assessment of the mineral resource base for their production, a sufficiency of the resources of developed deposits, as well as possible means of undeveloped deposits safeguarding were analyzed and discussed. It was found that the long-term needs of the Polish industry can be satisfied only for some of them: coking coal, copper, and silver, as well as numerous industrial and construction minerals. Moreover, existence of a sufficient resource base and appropriate means of their safeguarding may potentially have a significant impact on Poland’s and Europe’s minerals security, in particular regarding several minerals for which Poland is an important supplier to the European market, i.e., coking coal, copper, silver, and elemental sulfur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
Impact of Covid-19 on the Mining Sector and Raw Materials Security in Selected European Countries
Resources 2021, 10(5), 39; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10050039 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1380
Abstract
Events that change the global economy rapidly, without warning, in principle strongly affect mining, which is one of the pillars of global development. After the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the mining pillar seems to be relatively stable. In this study, thanks [...] Read more.
Events that change the global economy rapidly, without warning, in principle strongly affect mining, which is one of the pillars of global development. After the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the mining pillar seems to be relatively stable. In this study, thanks to the meeting of an international team, it was possible to collect and compare a set of data on the impact on mining. In contrast to the general assessments of the stability of the mining sector, the authors decided to assess the impact of Covid-19 at individual stages of the mining project life cycle. In this way, it was possible to identify the most impacted fragments of the mining pillar. It was assessed that the highest influence of Covid-19 is observed in projects implementing feasibility studies and in projects for the development of new mines. The same is true of extracting residual resources in mines prior to the closure decision. The medium impact was confirmed at the exploration and discovery stage. The authors conclude that the impact on the current mining production is smaller and the effects in this case are short term, which is mainly due to a continued strong demand for minerals in China, which has balanced the weaker demand in other parts of the world. On the other hand, stopping the exploration and development of new mines will have a long-term impact, including an increased possibility of disruption of the future security of supplies of raw materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
Mineral Deposits Safeguarding and Land Use Planning—The Importance of Creating Shared Value
Resources 2021, 10(4), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040033 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 713
Abstract
During the last few decades many European countries have developed policies directed towards mineral deposit safeguarding. However, as other land uses often are in conflict with mineral deposit safeguarding, the implementation of these policies is many times more difficult in practice. The aim [...] Read more.
During the last few decades many European countries have developed policies directed towards mineral deposit safeguarding. However, as other land uses often are in conflict with mineral deposit safeguarding, the implementation of these policies is many times more difficult in practice. The aim of this paper is to investigate the link between land use planning and mineral resources, when using a shared value perspective. The analysis is focused on the mineral-rich Nordic countries—Sweden, Norway and Finland—and a number of mining projects are analyzed. The analysis rests in Porter and Kramer’s arguments for the importance of creating shared values. The results indicate that a shared value perspective has been present in the analyzed case studies, as many of the key ways for creating shared value are identified in the projects. This illustrates the importance of linking social value to economic value in mining projects, even if this is not clearly stated in the relevant legislation. As it is often the unpredictability of the regulatory framework that hinders mineral extraction, it is suggested that Social Impact Assessments (or similar) are formalized in the regulatory framework to ensure that social value is linked more clearly to the land use process related to access to minerals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
Not Mining Sterilization of Explored Mineral Resources. The Example of Native Sulfur Deposits in Poland Case History
Resources 2021, 10(4), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10040030 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
The sterilization of mineral resources makes considerable amounts inaccessible for future use and may be a barrier to the free supply of commodities. During the exploitation of mineral deposits, some parts of their resources become sterilized as inaccessible because of natural hazards or [...] Read more.
The sterilization of mineral resources makes considerable amounts inaccessible for future use and may be a barrier to the free supply of commodities. During the exploitation of mineral deposits, some parts of their resources become sterilized as inaccessible because of natural hazards or unfavorable economic conditions. Not mining land use and the social opposition against mining is the purpose of sterilization of considerable demonstrated mineral resources of deposits not yet engaged in exploitation. The native sulfur deposits in Poland are a good example of such “not mining” sterilization, which makes a considerable part of known resources inaccessible. On the northern border of the Carpathian Foredeep within the Miocene gypsum formation, the systematic exploration had demonstrated about 1 billion tons of sulfur resources located in the deposits of varied dimensions. The sulfur opencast mining and underground melting (the modified Frasch method) flourished from 1958 up to 1993. The increasing sulfur supply, recoverable from hydrocarbons, caused the closing down of sulfur mines, leaving a place with considerable untouched resources. About 67% of sulfur resources left by closed mines and of other explored but not exploited deposits are sterilized by the advancement of settlements, industrial plants, road construction, and by social opposition against mining. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
Mining and Europe’s World Heritage Cultural Landscapes
Resources 2021, 10(2), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10020018 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 895
Abstract
This study examines the four cases of World Heritage protected cultural landscapes in Europe that are characterized by mining in order to identify the role mining plays today in such cultural landscapes, the legal requirements for their protection, and also the exploration and [...] Read more.
This study examines the four cases of World Heritage protected cultural landscapes in Europe that are characterized by mining in order to identify the role mining plays today in such cultural landscapes, the legal requirements for their protection, and also the exploration and exploitation in these areas and the differences that exist between the five European countries concerned. Using a qualitative comparative case study approach, the authors find that active mining is taking place in the Austrian case, and exploration is happening adjacent to the German/Czech protected cultural landscape. The legal protection of the cases is mainly based on heritage and monument protection legislation as well as environment protection legislation including the Natura 2000 network. Differences exist, as other than in Germany, exploration and mining could be allowed in protected areas, which is also contrary to the position of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and the International Council on Mining and Metals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
Instruments of Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia—Comparative Analysis
Resources 2021, 10(2), 16; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10020016 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 987
Abstract
Mineral deposits are essential for the economic, technological and social development. However, to enable them to play an appropriate role in the process of sustainable development, they need to be safeguarded in a comprehensive and systemic manner in the same measure as other [...] Read more.
Mineral deposits are essential for the economic, technological and social development. However, to enable them to play an appropriate role in the process of sustainable development, they need to be safeguarded in a comprehensive and systemic manner in the same measure as other elements of the environment. The practice of securing access to areas where the mineral deposits can be found is based on the statement that they can be extracted only in places where they occur. This fact defines the type and scope of instruments for safeguarding prospective deposit areas of minerals and their documented deposits. These issues gained in significance in the EU level in recent years however views on this subject across the Member States still vary. The paper subjects instruments of mineral deposit safeguarding used in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia to the analysis and multi-criteria comparative assessment. It recommends their division into the conceptual, legal, spatial planning and economic ones. As a result of studies, similarities and differences in the approach to mineral deposit safeguarding in individual countries are shown, indicating good practices and suggesting possible changes. The analysis revealed many analogies in actions aimed at mineral deposit safeguarding in individual countries, however the assessment of their effectiveness and implementation points at the necessity of taking further steps to increase deposit safeguarding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
Accessibility of Selected Key Non-Metallic Mineral Deposits in the Environmental and Social Context in Poland
Resources 2021, 10(1), 6; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10010006 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1058
Abstract
The increase in demand for mineral resources, the depletion of the resources (deposits) and numerous environmental and social limitations concerning their utilization led to research on the assessment of environmental and the social availability of compact raw material deposits classified as key raw [...] Read more.
The increase in demand for mineral resources, the depletion of the resources (deposits) and numerous environmental and social limitations concerning their utilization led to research on the assessment of environmental and the social availability of compact raw material deposits classified as key raw materials. The methodology of the research is based on the proposed environmental and social assessment procedure for the availability of deposits, in which, based on the constraints resulting from legal, environmental and planning conditions, four deposit availability classes have been determined: class I—very well accessible deposit, class II—well accessible deposit, class III—accessible deposit and class IV—inaccessible deposit. Ultimately, seven variables influencing the availability of the deposit were selected for the assessment, i.e., forms of nature protection, forests with protective functions, zones of indirect protection of groundwater and surface water intakes, main groundwater reservoirs, surface water reservoirs, rivers, streams and canals, buildings and infrastructure and road and railway. The research was carried out for 244 deposits located in Poland (Central Europe) with total resources of over 7.6 billion tons. The availability of deposits was analyzed for two variants. The first one included all the variables. The second variant, on the other hand, excluded railway infrastructure due to the fact that 90% of the compact raw materials transport is carried out by trucks. Finally, in variant I of the assessment, three classes of deposit availability were obtained: class IV inaccessible deposits (146 deposits), class III available deposits (93 deposits), and class II well-accessible deposits (5 deposits). In variant II four classes of deposit availability were obtained: class IV inaccessible deposits (145 deposits), class III available deposits (68 deposits), class II well-accessible deposits (28 deposits) and class I deposits very easily accessible (3 deposits). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Article
The Possibilities of Open-Cast Mining in Landscape Parks in Poland—A Case Study
Resources 2020, 9(10), 122; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources9100122 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 814
Abstract
Landscape parks are one of the most important tools for nature conservation in Europe. Cultural landscape protection, coupled in particular with rural tradition of land use plays a very important role. A common feature of these popular protected areas is the fact that [...] Read more.
Landscape parks are one of the most important tools for nature conservation in Europe. Cultural landscape protection, coupled in particular with rural tradition of land use plays a very important role. A common feature of these popular protected areas is the fact that they are established legally, in accordance with the principle of sustainable development. Activities carried out in the landscape parks are not entirely subservient to nature conservation. This makes them different from national parks and natural reserves. In Poland, landscape parks together with their buffer zones cover more than 13% of the country’s territory, which frequently causes conflicts among mining entrepreneurs and limits their activities. Mining in landscape parks in Poland is not forbidden by domestic law; however, detailed guidelines in this respect are determined by the assembly of a given province. Additionally, the process of applying for an extraction licence could be burdened with the threat of social protests, which may result in extending it by many years, and because of which a project may fail to be completed. Optimal solutions to these obstacles are already proposed by “Czatkowice” Limestone Mine (Małopolska Province). This case study presents an efficient practice of a smooth and effective decision-making process of obtaining a new mining licence in a landscape park. It also outlines certain aspects of the social licence to operate (SLO) as well as some appropriate methods of acting in complicated environments and spatial conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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Review

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Review
Towards Better Valorisation of Industrial Minerals and Rocks in Serbia—Case Study of Industrial Clays
Resources 2021, 10(6), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/resources10060063 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 569
Abstract
The improvement in valorisation of industrial minerals and rocks in Serbia is related to improvement of legislation, and to adoption of best possible techniques for geological exploration and estimation of resources/reserves. Therefore, we analyzed the actual practice in the field of geological exploration [...] Read more.
The improvement in valorisation of industrial minerals and rocks in Serbia is related to improvement of legislation, and to adoption of best possible techniques for geological exploration and estimation of resources/reserves. Therefore, we analyzed the actual practice in the field of geological exploration which has not changed significantly in the last 30 years, as well as legislation related to the mining industry and access to land. The improvement of legislation mostly depends on the state authorities. Contrary to that, the enhancement of geological exploration methodology should be the issue of experts working in that area of the mining industry but is also very much related to the existing legislation. Serbia still has very strictly prescribed procedures, which are generally good; however, it is an overly complicated and restrictive system for performing geological exploration and evaluation of mineral deposits. The most important improvements in legislation in the last twenty years are presented and discussed, as well as problems that still need to be solved and solutions found to fully understand the potential of industrial minerals and rocks in Serbia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Deposit Safeguarding in the EU)
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