Europe is building infrastructure and buildings, significantly, with European Union support. This means substantial demand for aggregates which is 5.2 tonnes annually per every European.
Aggregates for construction are, with a quantity of 2.7 billion tonnes, by far the largest group of mined and quarried raw materials in European Union.
Building with stones, lime and concrete has been taking place on a large scale since the Roman Empire. Thus, in some areas of Europe local aggregate reserves are low and demand is supplied by interregional and international aggregate trade. The work of geologists helps to discover new deposits and select the optimal sites for quarrying in the case of municipal land use planning.
The ecological sustainability of quarrying, good water management, and restoration enhancing biodiversity are also increasingly relevant. All of these elements are necessary to achieve high-quality public services that maintain social acceptability and a sustainable supply of aggregates for the construction industry.
The topic is relevant in Estonia because of the Tallinn-Warsaw high speed railway project, Rail Baltic. Construction is expected in 2020-2025 and there are several road construction projects in Estonia with EU support.
Estonia also has a good permit system and a fair distribution of mining fees with municipalities. Thus, demand is active and issues with permitting, planning and the mapping of the resources must be advanced. An exchange of experience in that regard, by European member states authorities, is needed because population density, nature protection and the need for aggregates create objectively difficult situations where decisions must be made about how to best secure the supply of aggregates with the least disturbance to population and nature.
The outcome of the conference is expected to be an agreement on establishing a European best practices guidebook for aggregates permitting, planning and restoration. The conference is mostly aimed at public sector servants in fields of policy planning, permitting authorities, nature conservation and land-use planning.
Partners in knowledge-based discussion are those involved with aggregates, the construction industry, and geological surveys of Europe. Participants will gain new case study based knowledge that organisers believe represent best practice in Europe.
Kumu Art Museum
Kumu Art Museum, A. Weizenbergi 34, 10127 Tallinn, Estonia