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Fact-Checking Raw Material Extraction

Myths under the microscope

Fact-checking – what is true and what is false about the myths relating to all aspects of mineral resources like sand, gravel and natural rock? The Forum MIRO decided to fact-check common and oft-repeated myths that are circulating about all aspects of aggregate resources.


Important topics such as recycling rates, personal use, sand shortages, land use, nature conservation as well as sustainability and the circular economy have been addressed in the context of the aggregates industry. This involved an examination of the sector’s compelling advantages, such as decentralisation as the key factor for short transportation routes, raw material quality as the prerequisite for reprocessing and the benefit to society as well as each individual citizen.

For example – The Land-Use Myth
Does the extraction of raw materials involve far too much land use?


For example, those who equate the extraction of aggregate resources across Germany with particularly high levels of land use will be surprised to learn just how little space is actually needed for active sand and gravel pits as well as stone quarries. Exactly how things stand and what can subsequently become of extraction sites is explained in film clip no. 3 in the new MIRO series “Der Faktencheck” [The Fact Check].

The surface area across Germany that is needed every year for active extraction of aggregate resources that can satisfy demand measures just 12.9 km². According to the raw materials experts at The Federal Mineral Resources Association (Bundesverband Mineralische Rohstoffe, MIRO), this translates to merely 0.004 percent of Germany’s total surface area having to be used for this in order to supply the needs of the entire country estimated to be 500 m t per year.

Furthermore,  this low percentage of surface area will not be used for raw material extraction evermore either, but only on a temporary basis. Once the extraction has finished, these areas will again be available to other industries or interest groups that will be able to use them for forestry and agriculture, local recreation, nature conservation or other purposes, depending on the decisions that will have been made regarding the plans for post-mining land-use.

In comparison to the low space requirements of the aggregates industry, 30 percent of the total area of Germany is forest and wooded areas, 50 percent of the toral area is used for agriculture and 15 percent for residential developments and traffic infrastructure.

The conclusion is that high space requirements are not at all a feature of the active extraction of aggregate resources. At the same time, this is a type of ‘first stage of use’ because, subsequently, something different can emerge in the place where the raw material deposits once lay.

Here is the link to the film clip (duration: 1.5 minutes):

Faktencheck Rohstoffverbrauch, Forum MIRO

It’s good to know that for the proper extraction of raw materials, particularly also in small areas, STICHWEH provides tailor-made flexible plant technology and preparation systems, ranging from sand and gravel extraction including quarrying and right through to classifying in accordance with best industry practices.

The range of sand and gravel extraction machines and systems for the world market includes: drag scrapers, bucket wheels, log washers, screening machines, jigs, pumps and cyclones, as well as complete solutions and special solutions.

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