Today, the European extractive industry is facing increasing environmental and societal pressures, being regulatory or not, during all phases of mine and quarry projects, from exploration to exploitation and closure. The social acceptability of a project is among the major key issues to be dealt with.
Mining, active or abandoned, is among the most significantly impacting man-made activities on the environment. Much of the environmental impacts of mining is associated with the release of harmful substances from mine waste. Improper waste disposal practices can cause increased turbidity in receiving waters and the release of polluted drainage and highly acidic waters. The consequences of such pollution can extend to impoverishment or deaths of aquatic flora and fauna, damaging the livelihood of terrestrial animals that feed on aquatic plants and animals, contamination of surrounding land and air, abandonment of public water supply intakes, damage to property and commerce, the disincentive to urban redevelopment posed by visible pollution, damage to society such as e.g. loss of visual amenities. The impact on surrounding farmland is of concern if livestock ingest contaminated grass and soil. In this scenario, food scares health and consumer confidence among a much wider community. The reclamation of mine sites which have not fully recovered through soil and plant regeneration is an important issue for local authority planners. These sites are eyesores within regions keen to develop tourism to replace the abandoned mining activity as a major part of their economies. Quality of life is also highly dependent on the surrounding scenery where people live.
On the other hand, mining activities are fundamental in order to provide the society with sufficient mineral raw materials needed for manufacturing industries, construction and thus public welfare. Obviously, there is a conflict of different interests related to mining activities. The solution of these conflicts depends on neutral information as basis for trustful dialogue. The aim of EO-MINERS is to bring into play EO-based methods and tools to facilitate and improve interaction between the mineral extractive industry, the society and their governments in view of the requirements of sustainable development while improving the societal acceptability of extractive activities.