Procurement of mineral raw materials in Germany is having to be reconciled with other issues and interests within an increasingly complex environment. In most cases, deposits are being politically restricted by overzealousness in planning and development, which, among other things, takes the form of designation of numerous priority and protected areas within the scope of nature conservation and landscape protection.
Extraction of raw materials does represent a considerable intervention in nature, but is kept to a minimum by companies thanks to extensive environmental standards. Nature and wildlife conservation can go hand in hand with mining of raw materials, as the mining practice in the German cement industry shows. Areas earmarked for mining are only used for a limited period of time, followed by a phase of renaturalisation or recultivation, whereby companies convert areas that previously had a low nature conservation value into flourishing habitats. As a result, the German cement works' mining areas do not represent an obstacle in sustainable development. It is scientifically agreed that closed-down quarries play a positive role in environmental and species protection by acting as areas of refuge and secondary biotopes. In part, this also applies to mining areas that are still in operation, as renaturalisation often begins whilst mining is ongoing.
A responsible raw materials policy must facilitate stable framework conditions for sustainable and secure procurement of resources. Raw material security represents a basic principle of the national planning act, but the law does not exploit the government's arrangement options for future-oriented securing of access to mineral raw materials. In practice, even regional planning has limited suitability for securing usable deposits in the long term. It is primarily the planning schedule that falls short in most cases: a time scale of at least 25 years is required. In this respect, amendments to the very fragmented planning law and political coordination on federal level could help to ensure organised designation and procurement of raw materials for cement. This is the only way to create long-term investment and planning security.