Sustainable mineral development: possibilities and pitfalls illustrated by the rise and fall of Dutch mineral planning guidance
Michiel J. Van der Meulen, 2005. "Sustainable mineral development: possibilities and pitfalls illustrated by the rise and fall of Dutch mineral planning guidance", Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World, B. R. Marker, M. G. Petterson, F. McEvoy, M. H. Stephenson
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The Netherlands has major resources of sand, gravel and clay, exploited mainly for construction works and the building materials industry. As in most Western countries, mineral extraction meets with considerable societal resistance. To this end, Dutch minerals policy aims to prevent extraction by promoting economical use of materials, and the use of alternative (secondary or renewable) materials. Until recently, it also included a system of production planning to sustain supplies of regionally scarce materials. Dutch policy development is reviewed and discussed in terms of pitfalls and possibilities for mineral planning in general. Promoting secondary substitution has been quite successful, and presents an example. In contrast, the production planning system has been controversial from the start and ineffective as a result, mainly because it attempted to solve supply problems without properly addressing the underlying resistance. For this reason the system is in the process of being abandoned.
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Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World
The sustainable development of minerals, which are non-renewable resources, is a major challenge in today’s world. In this regard the true definition of sustainability’ is a debating point in itself: can such a concept exist with respect to non-renewable resources? Perhaps the ideal sustainability model is one that minimizes negative environmental impact and maximizes benefits to society, the economy and regional/national development. Developed and near-developed economies rely for commodity supplies on developing countries where major mining operations are often a mainstay of the domestic economy. Limited environmental regulation and low wages lead to charges of exploitation. Also, large numbers of people have no alternative to living by informal, often dangerous, ‘artisanal’ mining. This Special Publication gives examples from developing countries at all scales of mineral extraction. The volume reviews environmental, economic, health and social problems and highlights the need to solve these before sustainability can be achieved. The better solutions require mutual understanding, through full involvement of all stakeholders, education, training and investment so that small-scale ansd artisinal mines can grow into well-managed operations. At larger scales, most major interantional mining companies have now inoproved their practices and are monitoring their progress, although there is no room for complacency in this rapidly changing area.