At first glance, the large-scale excavation of raw materials would appear to destroy nature and undermine biodiversity. Yet quarries and gravel pits actually provide an important habitat for plants and animals that are being increasingly displaced by development in other areas. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that quarries, gravel pits, and other open-pit mines can be extremely valuable for environmental protection, for they offer undisturbed habitats for rare and protected species.
Our sites are operated in accordance with relevant international,?national and local environmental legislation, with environmental impact assessments prepared generally as a?pre-requisite for the permitting of quarrying activities. In addition to being economically attractive, a potential project must be compatible with the goals of environmental protection.?We assign high priority to mining techniques that minimize environmental damage as well as to measures for the subsequent rehabilitation of mining sites.
In order to promote biological diversity at our mines, we have adopted group-wide guidelines for species protection. HeidelbergCement is the first company in the construction materials sector to do this. The ten principles set forth in these guidelines are designed to facilitate dialogue with environmental protection authorities and associations, as well as with the broader public. They are also designed to promote biological diversity and environmental health both during and after mining operations.
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Quarry Life Award
In 2018, HeidelbergCement organises?the Quarry Life Award for the fourth time. The research competition is targeted at scientists, university students, and non-governmental organisations as well as our neighbours in the communities where our facilities are located. In 2018, more than 300 applications were received, from which the?juries selected over 110 projects to compete for the award at the national?and international levels.?
To allow fair competition for all participants, the Quarry Life Award is?split into two streams: the research stream and the community stream.
The research stream focuses on scientific projects that increase knowledge of mining ecology and lead to improved biodiversity, landscape, or water management. It is open to academics, scientists, experts and NGOs.
The community stream focuses on engagement and outreach projects that help the quarry to better connect with its local stakeholders. Furthermore it will raise awareness and help to educate about biodiversity in quarries. This stream is open to everyone - individuals, students, school classes, NGO’s and local communities.
More about the Quarry Life Award
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Cooperation with BirdLife International
Since 2011, we have also been cooperating with the largest?international nature conservation organisation, BirdLife International. Our work with BirdLife International and our cooperation with its?national partner organisations help us minimise our environmental?impact and promote biodiversity in our quarries and the surrounding?areas. Together with BirdLlife, we developed a biodiversity strategy and implement species protection projects in several different European countries.
These include, for example, the settlement of Taurus cattle and Konik horses at the Gerhausen quarry close to Blaubeuren, Germany. The semi-natural all-year grazing contributes to preserving the high nature conservation value of the quarry. We are working on this project in cooperation with the German BirdLife partner NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union). In the United Kingdom, we are closely collaborating with the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) to transform the Needingworth quarry in Cambridgeshire into a nature reserve with the largest reed bed habitat in the United Kingdom.