Quarrying and Protected Areas: the first meeting with Sibelco

First meeting organised by EUROPARC and Sibelco on quarying in and around Natura 2000 sites. Belgium, April 2018

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Quarrying and Protected Areas: Towards a new partnership for Biodiversity


In todays’ society we are dependent on the extraction industries much more than we ever realise. By their very nature, quarrying, of all kinds, does have a negative impact on the landscape and on biodiversity. This is particularly relevant when the extraction happens within or nearby protected areas and Natura 2000 sites.  

The Action plan for nature, people and the economy launched by the European Commission in 2017, requires a wider involvement from multiple industries, outside of the environmental and protected areas world, if we are to reach the aims of halting and reversing biodiversity loss and the improvement of climate resilience and mitigation (see Action 8.C). Further, the European Commission is now reviewing the guidelines for non-energy extracting activity in Natura 2000 to promote good practice and encourage the development of innovative partnership models.

 Yet a growing number of companies are now ameliorating negative effects and reinstating or establishing new sites of value for biodiversity. Sibelco is one such company and has come to EUROPARC and our members, to share expertise and knowledge to help understand the challenges and opportunities and develop new partnerships, in a bid to benefit biodiversity.

EUROPARC has teamed up with Sibelco to look particularly at a closer cooperation with non-energy mineral extractive industry to promote best practice in land management and restoration within protected areas and Natura 2000 sites.

In order to understand the challenges and opportunities of mining in PAs and to develop new partnerships, Sibelco and EUROPARC have organised a joint workshop that took place on the 18th-19th of  April, in Belgium.  Two days of very productive learning exchange with the participation of representatives from Sibelco national units in charge of sustainability and protected areas managers responsible for extractive activities in their areas.

Case studies from the Peak District National Park (UK), the Grand Parc Miribel Jonage (FR), the Parc Natural Serra de Collserola (ES) were presented and issues concerning restoration, habitats modification, site management and dialogue with stakeholders widely discussed.

 Further steps

It was clear that this was a preliminary meeting and the following actions conclusions for future action were agreed:

 – The need to identify a list of overlapping Sibelco mining sites and EUROPARC Protected Area members.

– From within the overlapping sites list, establish a working group that would bring together protected areas managers and quarrying managers. The objective of this group would be to identify key challenges and propose solutions mainly focusing on: tools to improve governance and partnerships between mining sector and PAs; sustainable management of mining activities in PAs and on restoration plans. The group would also be a platform for learning exchange and possibly develop guidelines for other sites across Europe.

– Still, to establish this group and to make it run, funds are necessary: need to identify possible resources, if from the private sector or applying for European funds with specific projects.

–  Invitation to Sibelco to attend the EUROPARC Conference 2018: an opportunity to present Sibelco to EUROPARC network and directly share some information.

– Once we have a more clear plan of actions we can consider to come to a specific partnership agreement among our two organisations.

– Other aspects that were discussed and can be considered for further joint work: support for the management of Sibelco assets and learning exchange/trainings/ capacity building for Sibelco managers/staff.

If you have expertise and interest in this topic, contact us to f.minozzi @ europarc.org.