Mining threats in high-level biodiversity conservation policies

Related GLP Member: Aurora Torres, Erasmus zu Ermgassen, Isabel Rosa, Jianguo Liu


Amid a global infrastructure boom, there is increasing recognition of the ecological impacts of the extraction and consumption of construction minerals, mainly processed as concrete, including significant and expanding threats to global biodiversity. We investigated how high-level national and international biodiversity conservation policies address mining threats, with a special focus on construction minerals. We conducted a review and quantified the degree to which threats from mining these minerals are addressed in biodiversity goals and targets under the 2011–2020 and post-2020 biodiversity strategies, national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and the assessments of the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Mining appeared rarely in national targets but more frequently in national strategies. Yet, in most countries, it was superficially addressed. Coverage of aggregates mining was greater than coverage of limestone mining. We outline 8 key components, tailored for a wide range of actors, to effectively mainstream biodiversity conservation into the extractive, infrastructure, and construction sectors. Actions include improving reporting and monitoring systems, enhancing the evidence base around mining impacts on biodiversity, and modifying the behavior of financial agents and businesses. Implementing these measures could pave the way for a more sustainable approach to construction mineral use and safeguard biodiversity.

KEYWORDS: Aichi biodiversity targets, cement, endangered species, environmental policy, extractive industries, impact mitigation, limestone, sand