Austrian Mineral Resources Plan

The Austrian Mineral Resources Plan is a nationwide master plan for securing raw materials. It aims to provide a basis for future extraction activities in accordance to the respective needs of provinces and municipalities.

It is the main purpose of the Austrian Mineral Resources Plan to identify mineral occurrences using innovative, objective and system analytical methods (Weber, 2012). In many cases, mineral resources occur in areas where existing land use zoning does not allow exploitation. Therefore, a first approach was made to identify zoning-conflict free areas. Mineral occurrences that are worth to be protected because of their quality and quantity and which do not coincide with “no-go” or “conflict zones” in land-use were marked. “No-go zones” are all zones, where mining activities are prohibited by law (e.g. land for buildings, national parks), “conflict zones” are e.g. Natura2000 areas. The regional governments are responsible for the implementation of raw material safeguarding areas.

Of utmost importance was the identification of construction materials deposits (e.g. sand, gravel, crushed stone). By respecting these deposits in spatial planning, it was possible to keep sand and gravel available for more than 50, crushed stone for more than 100 years in most supply regions. Almost 250 occurrences of metallic ores, industrial minerals and coal have been designated. However, this should not mean that these resources will actually be used in the future.

The work on the Austrian Mineral Resources Plan was followed with interest by the European Commission. In the European Commission's Communication "Raw Materials Initiative" published in November 2008, which received high recognition from both stakeholders and member states, the Austrian Mineral Resources Plan was cited as a "best practice method" for securing raw materials in spatial planning.

The Austrian Mineral Resources Plan, which aims to achieve a broad consensus between the federal government, the provinces, the municipalities and the relevant industry, thus represents an important intergenerational contract for securing raw materials.

Further information: Der Österreichische Rohstoffplan