The locations of our mining operations are determined by geology. On those sites, we strive to protect biodiversity as we carry out our activities. Our mining sites and quarries are restored as operations progress, often contributing to the conservation of fauna and flora species.
Our mining and processing operations use land and natural resources. This can affect biodiversity and ecosystems throughout the lifecycle of our quarries. We ensure our mining activities are compatible with biodiversity conservation through relevant planning and restoration.
Our “Post-Mining Rehabilitation” protocol requires operations to prepare their quarries’ future and describes the restoration methods that will be applied during the site’s operating life and when it closes.
Our strategy consists of building our knowledge and understanding of the environment and, in sensitive zones, encouraging the development of biodiversity management plans. Approximately 15% of the Group’s operations are located on or near zones recognized for their interest in terms of biodiversity. In 2012, the Group began encouraging the “concerned sites” to formalize their biodiversity management approaches, and in 2013, an additional two of the “concerned sites” establish a site-specific BMP based on the newly developed internal reference mentioned above. In 2014, the Group plans to increase the BMP to 20% of the “concerned sites”.
Also in 2013, Imerys’ methodologies for biodiversity risk assessment were improved to incorporate new international trends in environmental risk assessment, as well as lessons learned from internal projects. The enhanced analysis enables Imerys to plot the proximity of its mining operations’ coordinates to the closest areas of High Biodiversity Value using Google Earth.
This new methodology is much more efficient at capturing new information on protected areas and newly acquired quarries. As of December 31, 2013, 34 out of the 115 mining operations in the Group are identified as concerned sites, near or inside an area of High Biodiversity Value.
Our quarries, especially their end-of-life restoration, offer many opportunities to enrich biodiversity by reviving natural areas or helping to conserve endangered animal or plant species. Several examples of positive contributions to ecosystems on our sites demonstrate this phenomenon. Most of these examples result from partnerships with local environmental associations or NGOs.
United Kingdom – A Vision for our Former Mining Sites
Imerys Minerals Ltd, with its Eco-Bos Eco-Community project, wishes to reinvigorate the mid-Cornwall clay area. The plan is to create a series of exemplar, highly sustainable communities on 700 ha of Imerys-owned industrial land that is no longer required for operational purposes. Read more
Malaysia – Integrating Restoration in Quarry Operating Plans
The 54-hectare project, launched in 2006, was designed to restore the balance of flora and fauna and should go on for another 8 years. Remediation will take place in several stages, the biggest being reforestation. Read more
United Kingdom – Restoration of Kaolin Quarries
The woodland project was a post-mining restoration project. It aimed to restore the landscape of the china clay area in Cornwall. It followed on from the Heathland Project. From 1997 to 2004, 750 hectares of lowland heath land – another endangered habitat - was restored on former mining sites. Together, the two projects formed the biggest initiative of their kind in Europe. Read more
United Kingdom – An experimental plantation
Imerys Minerals Ltd (United Kingdom) is assessing the development potential of planting Araucaria araucana – a rare species on the IUCN red list – in former kaolin quarries. Read more
Germany – A former Calderys clay pit in Weitefeld in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, has been successfully returned to nature
After Calderys closed the pit in the 90s environmental associations noticed that rare, endangered flora and fauna had developed at the site due to the water puddles formed by the mining activity, the stakeholders decided to turn the site into a protected land. Read more
Australia – Developing a Biorich Demonstration site at Lal Lal (Australia), an Imerys mining site
Developed in cooperation with Ballarat Region Treegrowers, the project covers 10 hectares of marshy land around the Imerys Minerals Australia mine. Read more
"Montpothier" quarry (Aube), France — Enhancing biodiversity as part of the rehabilitation of the Montpothier site.
"La Verrerie" quarry (Indre), France — Creation of a replacement pond to protect an environment of high ecological value. Read more
"Touvérac" quarry (Charente), France — Creation of an environment rich in protected flora and fauna: Sweet gale, European pond terrapin, etc... Read more
"Devant-le-Bard" quarry (Charente-Maritime) and "Vallée de Guizengeard" quarry (Charente), France — Creation of an environment to foster biodiversity: the European bee-eater. Read more
"Jard" quarry (Charente-Maritime), France — Study of colonizing species and compensatory measures. Read more
"Ménez Du" quarry (Finistère), France — Study and maintenance of a plot in order to contribute to better knowledge of a mesophilic environment. Read more