Parliament overhauls mining wastes proposal

The European Parliament adopted more than 100 amendments to the draft EU Directive on mining and quarrying wastes in April.

The proposal was drawn up in response to major mining accidents in Spain and Romania, and applies to waste from minerals extraction, treatment and storage (ENDS Report 341, pp 52-53 ).

Key changes by MEPs include a requirement for Member States to draw up within three years an inventory of closed and disused mining sites and facilities, classified according to the degree of danger they pose. "Rehabilitation" of those posing the greatest risk would have to start within a further year.

Parliament's text also puts more emphasis on waste prevention, linkage to the water framework Directive, more explicit mention of the need to prevent damage to protected areas, and more measures to prevent pollution from flooding of underground mining "voids" and from temporarily removed topsoil.