What is it?
In our daily lives, we make use of all sorts of things extracted from the world around us. The forelands of our major rivers provide us with clay, for example, which we use to make bricks. The maps in the illustration show where in the Netherlands sand and clay can be extracted. There is sand covering substantial parts of the beds of the North Sea and our large water bodies, but sand can also be extracted from inland quarries. In the Netherlands, salt is extracted mainly by mining. The salt is used in the home, in industry and for spreading on roads.
The extraction of minerals can have a serious impact on the ecosystem. At the extraction site, soil biota and the habitats of plants and animals are destroyed.
Offshore sand extraction makes the water cloudy, so that sunlight doesn't penetrate as deeply. That in turn impairs the growth of phytoplankton, with knock-on effects on the animals higher up the food chain.
Salt mining can cause the ground level at the surface to drop, increasing the flood risk. As well as having a direct influence on the ecosystem, quarrying for minerals at the surface can cause a lot of noise, with implications for people's quality of life and health.
In real life
Clay extraction is nowadays combined with the development of nature in the river forelands. In that context, particular attention is given to the protection of local residents and businesses against flood risk. Local governments and the business community work together to achieve the desired spatial quality.
In order to obtain a permit to extract a mineral resource, a company has to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report, describing the potential direct and indirect impact of extraction on the local ecosystem. The reported environmental impact is taken into account when deciding whether to issue a permit. Alternatively, nature conservation measures can be provided for in the plans.
No practical examples are currently available.
- Offshore sand and gravel extraction
- Mineral extraction on land and from inland waterways: sand, gravel and clay
- Salt fields and production mines
- Boundaries of licensed sand and gravel extraction areas (soon available)