Discussion concerning the Federal Mining Act
Is the Federal Mining Act still up to date or should it be revised? How will it be possible for the raw material industry and nature conservation organisations to become partners? These questions were in the focus of this year’s 10th Raw Material Colloquium held in Schönebeck on 14.04.2011, which was organised by the Employers Association for Mineral Building Materials (UVMB) in cooperation with the Dr. Eiserbeck Office for Mining, Geology and Environment (BBGU). About 100 participants from industry, administration and associations accepted the invitation (Fig.).
The background and reason for this event is an advisory legal opinion commissioned by the parliamentary group Alliance 90/The Greens in the German Federal Parliament to amend the German mining law. They intend to tighten the demands on the approval procedures as regards the mining law. The lawyer Dirk Teßmer from Frankfurt on the Main, who prepared the opinion, sees an “obvious imbalance in favour of the industry”. Teßmer supports cancellation of the Federal Mining Act and replacing it by an environmental code. In particular the position of people and the environment should be strengthened. The eminent domain-, mining damage- and indemnification laws should be amended.
The Leipzig-based lawyer Prof. Dr. Bernd Dammert underlined that it is not necessary to amend the Federal Mining Act. It only has to be properly administered. There are appropriate regulations enabling an adequate balancing of interests in the area of conflict between raw material extraction and third party protection. The call for an amendment is aimed at drastically restricting the raw material extraction in the Federal Republic of Germany. Accordingly the demand for raw materials is to be politically controlled through the loophole of tightening the regulations of the mining law agency and the management approval law without saying frankly from where the required raw materials are to be supplied and who is to pay the price for it. The Federal Mining Act is a modern and flexible law tailored to the specifics of mining. This was also confirmed by Hans-Georg Thiem from the Cottbus-based State Office for Mining, Geology and Raw Materials in the state of Brandenburg, based on 21 years of practical experience gained in raw material extraction according to the Mining Act. It offers a uniform legal basis for the approval and supervision of mining companies as well as for approval decisions at a professional level and a concentrated approval procedure.
Marc Sitkewitz from the Bavarian State Authority for the Protection of Birds in Veitshöchheim lectured on partnerships between nature conservation and the raw material industry. He mentioned the “Frankenbündnis für die Natur” (Franconian Alliance for Nature) that exists since 2009 and where numerous raw material extracting companies from Northern Bavaria support nature conservation. He described the important potential of actively used and rehabilitated quarries for the protection of species and biodiversity demonstrated by the example of the eagle owl, the yellow-bellied toad and crested newts.
Unternehmerverband Mineralische Baustoffe (UVMB) e.V., Berlin (D), www.uvmb.de