Commitment to respect biodiversity
Our mining and processing operations use land and natural resources. This can affect biodiversity and ecosystems throughout the life cycle 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. In this effort to reduce our activities’ negative impact on biodiversity, we act along three main lines: keeping affected surface area to a minimum, continuous restoration whenever possible and taking offset measures. 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.
Our strategy consists of building our knowledge and understanding of the
environment and, in sensitive zones, encouraging the development of
biodiversity management plans. Our biodiversity sensitivity study begun in Europe in 2009 continued in 2011 and now covers all our sites worldwide. In total, approximately 15% of our sites are located in or near recognized zones
of biodiversity interest. We plan to step up reviews of the "Post Mining Rehabilitation" protocol under the EHS program and a specific module on biodiversity management plans will also be added to the program. Our 2012 goal is to roll out the new module at 10% of our biodiversity sensitive sites.
Furthermore, we continue to play an active part in mining industry associations to share best practices on biodiversity management and define common performance indicators.