Sustainable Location Development – Assessment of Feasibility and Producibility of a Quarry Expansion in a FFH Region
For more than 100 years, refractory stone has been produced in Hagen, e.g. for pan linings required in the steel industry to transport fluid, high-temperature steel. Today, the production is operated by the Rheinkalk and LWB Refractories Companies. Both are subsidiary companies of the Belgian Lhoist Group. Their performance comprises the mining of dolomite rock, kilns to burn dolomite sinter and a factory to produce refractory. For the necessary mining of dolomite rock, a future expansion of the quarry is ultimately inevitable. However, such an expansion would also cause strain on land that is currently under protection of the European Union’s FFH Directive.
As an operating mining company, the Rheinkalk Company commissioned SUSTAIN CONSULT to assist with the expansion application and the quarry expansion process of approval. Respectively, SUSTAIN CONSULT examined two main questions:
- Are there alternatives to the expansion in question; and would these alternatives satisfy both the measures of the FFH Directive and the needs of companies involved?
- What public interests are to be valued concerning refractory production and quarry expansion? How important are these interests compared to the intrusion of the FFH protected area? Are they important enough to justify such an intrusion?
SUSTAIN CONSULT was able to determine that many employment positions and opportunities in the region were highly dependent on the abovementioned production in Hagen. Alternative raw materials mining opportunities otherwise located are non-apparent. Therefore, the development of the regional economy and employment opportunities, on the one hand - and the intended FFH Protection Laws, on the other hand - had to be considered and weighed against one another. Hence, the compensation of a possible intrusion of the FFH elsewhere becomes biggest importance.
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