Minor changes to mining wastes Directive

The EU Directive on wastes from mines and quarries survived its second reading in the European Parliament on 7 September with only minor changes.

A "common position" on the Directive agreed by the Council of Ministers in March differed little from the text of the agreement reached the previous October. This allowed member states to exempt "non-inert, non-hazardous" wastes from key provisions on stability of waste heaps, post-closure requirements and the need for financial guarantees (ENDS Report 357, pp 50-51 ).

These exemptions were retained by Parliament, which also voted against amendments requiring former mining sites to be cleaned up after strong opposition from Polish MEPs.

However, MEPs voted against provisions in the common position that would allow mining waste to be dumped in coastal or inland waters if certain conditions were met.

MEPs also agreed that before opening a new mine, companies would have to provide financial guarantees covering post-closure remediation and monitoring to cover both the site itself and any surrounding areas that might be affected.

If the Council rejects Parliament's amendments the final text will have to be negotiated directly by the two institutions under the conciliation procedure.

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