ÖkoRess III: Pilot screening of environmental hazard potentials of mining sites
February 2018 until February 2021
Commissioned byGerman Environment Agency
Projekt Consult GmbH
The German national economy imports raw materials from all over the world. These raw materials are the physical foundation for production, value added and consumption in Germany. Metallic raw materials are nearly completely imported, directly in the form of ores and concentrates as well as indirectly in the form of semi-finished and finished products. Security of supply is the primary object of the German raw materials policy. At the same time, the public consciousness for the conditions under which mineral raw material production takes place elsewhere is growing in Germany as well as in other early industrialized countries. Civil society´s awareness for the consumption of natural resources such as soil, water, air and ecosystems during mining and its effects on the biological diversity and the local population is increasing continuously. In this context, new approaches are being sought to reconcile security of supply with a globally understood sense of ecological and social responsibility.
In ÖkoRessIII, a site-related evaluation method for the environmental hazard potential of mining sites is systematically applied to the three bulk metal raw materials bauxite (aluminium ore), copper and iron ore at a total of 100 sites. The method was developed and refined in the predecessor projects ÖkoRessI and II. The pilot screening of 100 mine sites additionally serves to identify potentials for optimizing the method. The site-related ÖkoRess evaluation allows to quickly get an idea of potential hazards for the environment at a location by assessing geological, technical and site surrounding indicators of the natural and social environment.
Bauxite (aluminium ore), copper and iron ore are mined worldwide and are very relevant for Germany as a production location. They are imported into Germany in large quantities for the production of goods with a high degree of vertical integration, which are then largely exported again. They are therefore of particular importance with regard to the debate on Germany’s ecological responsibility in terms of the mining conditions in the countries of origin.