The restoration revolution

Published 20 September 2017

While current environmental legislation expects the extractive industry to restore its abandoned mining areas back to their former use, it often falls short of detailed steps to achieve this goal. In the last few years, Cemex has been developing a geomorphological approach to ecological restoration at three clay quarries in Spain. By José María Gómez Díaz, Cemex, Spain.

Aurora, one of three clay quarries owned by Cemex in Campredó, Tarragona, Spain (October 2015)

The days of extracting raw materials from quarries and leaving the mined area unrestored once extraction activity is over are coming to an end. The importance of restoration is increasingly being recognised by both national and supranational governments, as well as the extractive industry. In Spain the law has established guidelines on how to restore these spaces and requires a bank guarantee that restoration activities will be undertaken even if a company is dissolved or files for bankruptcy. Current regulation does not, however, provide details on how to carry out these restoration projects.

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