The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released “Guidelines on Quarry Rehabilitation,” which provides practical guidance for managing the impacts of quarrying activities and ensuring that environments are properly reclaimed.
The project was carried out by a group of member companies and is based on methods that they have successfully employed. Philippe Fonta, managing director, WBCSD Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) and Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB), said, “In recognizing their responsibility for effective quarry reclamation, our members want to share their practical experience and expertise in order to potentially help other companies involved in similar quarrying or reclamation activities. In 2005, all CSI members committed to prepare their reclamation plans and make them public before the operation of new cement sites.”
The guidelines reflect the principles of quarry reclamation, established by consensus among the CSI members and outlines the conditions and milestones for developing reclamation plans. These include:
- Defining context and assessing baseline conditions.
- Setting technically and financially sustainable objectives.
- Planning finances.
- Developing and implementing plans.
- Monitoring, adjustments and post-closure land-use management.
This type of planning constitutes a proactive approach to quarry operations and rehabilitation, applicable for both new and existing sites, according to the organization. As such, legal compliance should always be considered as the minimum requirement, and operators should leave sites in a safe and stable condition.
The guidelines feature 30 operational case studies – including several from the U.S. – covering a wide range of quarry types and local habitats around the world.
Continuous communication and open dialogues with stakeholders play a vital role in achieving a mutually beneficial outcome for both stakeholders and operators. The guidelines also analyze how external stakeholders such as the local community and legislators can be brought “on board.”
CSI solicited, discussed and considered inputs from a wide range of external reviewers during the drafting process. “We firmly believe that the benefits to the natural environment and local communities of progressive and pragmatic quarry reclamation outweigh the long-term reclamation costs,” said Fonta.