Background

Biodiversity reflects the number, variety and variability of living organisms and how these change from one location to another. Biodiversity in its complexity is challenging to define and explore because of its holistic approach and that it covers quasi all life on earth. Therefore only individual sectors of biodiversity can be represented and investigated.

EU’s legislation that deals specifically with biodiversity can be traced back to the 1979’s Birds Directive. This directive aims to protect all wild bird species naturally occurring in the European Union. And by 1992 the Habitats Directive established an EU-wide network of nature protection areas known as Natura 2000.

In 1999, the EU reinforced the role of zoos in the conservation of biodiversity and, in the wake of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, committed to protecting native biodiversity and ecosystem services against invasive alien species.

The latest development is the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 that aims to protect nature and reverse ecosystems’ degradation by 2030.

Why is it important?

Biodiversity provides food and medicine, fresh air and clean water, protection from natural disasters and green spaces for humans. It is the natural capital which supports all our lives. Biodiversity is vital for our survival and is an essential measure of the health of our planet.

Demonstrating a commitment to biodiversity conservation is now a critical element of sustainable development for the industrial mineral industry and will continue to be an essential consideration in the future.

Our views

The industrial mineral sector takes great care to minimise the environmental impact of its mines and quarry operations. Moreover, in terms of protecting nature, open surface mining often provides perfect conditions for unique habitat creation, especially for rare pioneer species, which thrive on the bare rocks and gravel of open-pit mines. Industrial minerals companies have full restoration plans at the very early permitting phase to preserve and improve the ecosystem and fauna on-site during and after extraction.

The sector always includes identifying, evaluating, and managing biodiversity into our business decision-making processes and attempts to understand species’ diversity and the richness of ecosystems at future mining sites before embarking on new mining projects. Many quarry operators solicit the help of biodiversity specialists and work in partnership with government, universities, communities, and other biodiversity stakeholders.

IMA-Europe members are contributing to many environmental, biodiversity and conservation projects such as:

• IMA-Europe Biodiversity Statement
• Partnership with IUCN Countdown 2010
• Partner on the EU Business@Biodiversity Platform
• Good Environmental Practice in the European Extractive Industry
• IMA-Europe Recognition Award for Biodiversity & Eco-System Services
• Partnering under the ELCN LIFE Project establishing a European Landowners Conservation Network (2017-2020)