The new mining strategy of the EBRD (the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) risks contradicting the EU Resource Efficiency Roadmap and responsible mining principles, argue 22 MEPs in an open letter to European Commissioners which asks the EC to take a more active role in improving the EBRD mining strategy currently under review. (1)
“The EBRD is right in drafting a new mining strategy as raw materials policy is climbing to the top of political agendas,” says German MEP Reinhard Butikofer, the initiator of the open letter. “But this strategy must be in line with EU objectives and standards. The EBRD has financed coal mining without taking responsibility for coal-combustion’s contribution to climate change. This is not only short-sighted but at odds with the EU’s very own climate agenda.”
A review of the EBRD’s mining strategy shall happen by the end of 2012, with a first draft of the document published in April considered disappointing by environmental NGOs monitoring the bank, primarily because it continues to allow for financial support for coal mining despite opening up new coal resources being one of the main contributors to climate change. (2)
“What we also want to see is a genuine inclusion of civil society, particularly of potentially affected communities, in the decision-making over the future mining policy of the EBRD,” says Bankwatch EBRD coordinator Ionut Apostol. “The process of drafting the mining strategy is not open enough even though this document will impact in important ways the direction of development of countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
“The EBRD needs to make sure that it avoids to repeat mistakes from the past, specifically putting too much emphasis on intensive exploitation of natural resources as a supposed means of development,” Apostol added. “Too often, intensive resource extraction has been undertaken because of the existence of undemocratic regimes, fraud, corruption or weak environmental standards in the EBRD countries of operation; it hasn’t benefited local populations, on the contrary, it has contributed to putting these countries on unsustainable paths.”
The EBRD operations cover nine of the new EU member states and all accession and neighbouring countries that are also main commercial partners of the Union. The EU and EU member states own around 60 per cent of EBRD shares. In the last ten years, the EBRD has facilitated investments of around EUR 2 billion Euro in the mining sector.
Notes for the editors:
(1) Read the open letter from the 22 Members of the European Parliament addressed to 3 Commissioners here:
(2) Read the EBRD draft mining strategy at:
Read the Bankwatch reaction to the EBRD mining strategy:
(3) Examples of harmful mining projects currently in the EBRD’s pipeline: