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Event Mineral Extraction versus Ecology

After a workshop organised 27 November 2015 and a series of excursions to different types of raw materials extraction conducted this year, the ad-hoc working group observed that former or reclaimed mining sites regain valuable ecological functions and may even attain a higher level of biodiversity than the original lands before mining. Multiple former extraction sites are transformed into Natura 2000 or other protected sites, or even are becoming new wilderness areas. The ad-hoc working group has concluded that mining and ecology should become allies and agreed to the organisation of a symposium, with the intention to promote a better understanding of the mutual interests by the industry and the conservationists and at informing a wider audience.

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Period 26/11/2016
Event location Auditorium, Royal Belgian Institut of Natural Sciences Rue Vautier 29, 1000 Brussels (behind the European Parliament)
Host Geologica Belgica and BLUG/UBLG
Contact person Michiel Dusar;

Unlike many other projects which address either the ecological requirements upon termination of the raw materials extraction or the resulting biodiversity, our symposium will take a geological perspective, describing mineral extraction and returning biodiversity not as separate steps but as a dynamic operation depending on continuous and site-dependent flow of ecological changes over variable time spans.

Key actors working on quite different materials and operating in contrasting geological environments will describe and synthesise how they cope with fostering biodiversity within the areas reserved for mineral extraction during successive phases of mining operations. The symposium will deal with subjects such as the burden and opportunity of temporary nature, speeding up colonisation and accessibility, and confront these to former mining sites without planned ecological restauration or nature reserves without memory of former land use changes.

Mineral Extraction versus Ecology symposium - tentative programme

Meeting time: Thursday 24 November 20165, 14–17 h

Meeting place: Auditorium, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Vautierstraat 29 rue Vautier, B-1000 Brussels 

13:30   welcome at the Natural History Museum, rue Vautier 29 – 1000 Brussels

14:00   opening address ‘Mineral Extraction vs. Ecology, adversaries or allies?’. Reflections on a brainstorming session and excursions to different sites of past and present mineral extraction (Hambach, Merlemont, Resteigne, Kelmis – La Calamine, Opgrimbie), by Robrecht Schmitz & Michiel Dusar

14:30   Dynamic management of temporary nature by the LIFE in Quarries project, by Alexandre Sneessens, Fediex

15:00   The sinuous path from quarry to nature reserve and/or leisure areas, by Isaac Berwouts, Sibelco

15:20   Introduction to INTRAW, International Raw Materials Observatory project coordinated by EFG, by Nuno Da Silva, Halliburton / UBLG

15:30   coffee break

16:00   Access to old quarries and reserves of natural stone for restauration of monuments, by Francis Tourneur, Pierres & Marbres de Wallonie

16:20   Nature without remediation in former Moresnet neutral territory, some highlights

16:30   What next? Open Forum

17:00   Closure of the meeting

Registration: participation is free, but registration is required by informing secretary

Participants are free to use the language of their choice (English, Dutch or French).

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