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Τετάρτη, 19 Οκτωβρίου 2016

Ongoing Legislation Reform on Quarry Minerals : Difficulties in Land-Use Planning in Greece

[by Dr. Tzeferis Peter]

The mining and quarrying industry is a very specific sector, concerning not renewable resources and unlike other forms of land use, it is important to acknowledge that minerals can be worked out where they are found (with the exemption of the aggregates which are considered abundant and can be excluded from the general exploitation pattern) . 

Also there is the well known scarcity of minerals and metals, some are not equally abundant throughout the Earth's crust. We all know the so called "coltan" case,  a rare earth critical metal which is in more the 80% focused in Congo, in central africa. Countries rich in resources - such as Congo - have been affected by the phenomenon called "resource curse". Greece is not is this position, but it may be close perhaps in some cases, such as the case of copper-gold ores in the north of Greece, Macedonia. 
In Greece, deposits are usually fragmented and dispersed, so the areas required for extraction are numerous and small-sized. Also there is a fragmentation of properties and a competing interest of different activities at the same small property. All this result in conflicts of land use and generally in an increase of the number of the extraction areas. 




The Greek companies investing in quarrying are generally small sized and especially for marble quarrying there are enterprises of a very small size (75% is of 3-5 employees). We have more than 1000 quarries in the whole country area.

Moreover, distances between the urban, highly populated or industrial areas and mineral deposits are often very small causing problems in spacial and land use planning. Also ancient monuments of cultural heritage and Natura 2000 and other protected areas are everywhere around. With the latest increases of 2016, a more than 27% of the country’s total expanse is listed under Natura 2000 network. And the percentage of sea area under Natura protection will come to 17 %. Of course there are endangered species needing protection in sych areas but also a great deal of minerals deposits that are to be mined or places to be explored. One more thing is that this 30% is not focused but is dispersed throughout the country. There should be no automatic exclusion of extraction activities in the surrounding of the sensitive areas (as comes from the European Commission Guidance documents for Natura 2000) but there is a considerable delay in getting a license in these areas.

Last but not least is the factor of the public awareness and social perception that are important factors nowadays taken into consideration for the exploration and assessment of mineral resources. Nowadays a "social license" is strongly needed. Unfortunately, the syndromes Not in my back yard (NIMBY) or Not in any back yard (NIABY) are well established in our country for mining extracting sector causing more delays in permitting procedures.

TO ΠΛΑΙΣΙΟ Α∆ΕΙΟ∆ΟΤΗΣΗΣ ΤΩΝ ∆ΡΑΣΤΗΡΙΟΤΗΤΩΝ ΟΡΥΚΤΟΥ ΠΛΟΥΤΟΥ (λατοµεία, µεταλλεία, γεωθερµικό δυναµικό κλπ)