Laws and Policies

China introduces new standards for the green renovation of mines

Updated: May 16, 2024 By Li Menghan Print
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A miner works at a coal mine in Lyuliang, Shanxi province. [Photo/China News Service]

China has introduced the first batch of national standards for the ecological restoration of mine sites in production, filling the legal and regulatory gap in China's ecological restoration efforts, an official said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"In accordance with the requirements of comprehensive governance and restoration, these standards have expanded ecological restoration efforts from post-treatment to source protection. This involves prioritizing protection, source prevention and control, unified planning, coordinated implementation, and a combination of artificial guidance and natural recovery," said Lu Lihua, deputy director of the department of territorial spatial ecological restoration at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

These standards, focusing on the restoration works for coal mines, metallic mines, and oil and gas projects, were rolled out last month and scheduled to take effect on August 1.

"While the exploitation and utilization of mineral resources have significantly bolstered the national economy and social progress, it has also led to spate of problems such as land degradation, vegetation destruction, environmental contamination and ecological decline," Lu said, adding that preserving and restoring mining ecosystems should employ a systematic and scientific approach, departing from the traditional sequence of development preceding restoration.

The standards proposed to minimize ecological damage during resource utilization. This involves implementing preventive measures such as stripping away topsoil that is suitable for farming and transplanting vegetation to protect plant biodiversity, Lu added.

She emphasized the need for mineral exploitation to steer clear of environmentally sensitive areas, including arable land, permanent basic farmland and natural reserves.

In addition, mining enterprises are encouraged to optimize mining processes, prioritize the comprehensive utilization of solid waste resources, and mitigate land occupation and ecological disturbances caused by mining activities, she said.

"Promoting the construction of green mines in a concerted effort is of great significance for advancing high-quality development," she said.

Liu Shenshi contributed to this story.

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