Turkish cement sector consumed 132.274.664 tons of raw materials in total in 2017. 127.959.260 tons of this figure were natural materials and the rest was made up of unnatural materials obtained from thermal power plants running on coal, sulphuric acid production or iron steel industry wastes and of the EF dust.
Obtaining its raw materials mostly from nature, cement industry is aware that it creates natural, ecological and social impacts at the raw material quarry sites and their surroundings due to mining activities. On the other hand, sustainability of the industry is essential in terms of economic development. With this awareness, the sector is sensitive about rearranging restoring the natural structures on the basis of species and establishing the natural balance of all sites, where it is responsible for their deterioration and making them safely usable by humans or other living creatures and gives particular importance to sustainable land management implementations. In broad terms, sustainable land management implementations in the cement sector comprise rehabilitation of the quarry sites, raising awareness of the employees and following the national and international good practices, different implementation technologies and also relevant legislation.
Within this scope, as well as the rehabilitation activities being carried out by its members for years. a collaboration with the General Directorate of Forestry, Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and General Directorate of Mining Affairs was initiated under the leadership of the Turkish Cement Manufacturers Association (Türk Çimento) in the second half of 2013 to conduct studies on the rehabilitation of the raw material quarry sites of the cement sector. With the advances in the studies, technical assistance has been received from relevant NGOs since 2014 for improving the efficiency of quarry rehabilitation and conscious approach.
Within the scope of the studies, Türk Çimento completed the Turkish translations of Guidelines on Quarry Rehabilitation and Biodiversity Management Plan Guidance prepared by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Cement Sustainability Initiative. Türk Çimento is also preparing to publish a document, which will serve as a guideline planned to be used by the entire mining sector, cement sector being in the first place, to make correct planning in the “natural restoration” activities already carried out both as per the national legislation and awareness owned, to efficiently use the time and cost spent, to develop alternatives for rehabilitation examples and therefore to achieve the correct environmental gains.
As a member, Türk Çimento closely follows all developments in terms of implementation and legislation, case studies and events about rehabilitation in the World, the EU and at national level through the European Cement Association (CEMBUREAU). Initiatives and collaborations with relevant stakeholders such as World Business Council for Sustainable Development Cement Sustainability Initiative, International Union for Conservation of Nature and European Aggregates Association form a part of this follow-up.
Türk Çimento considers sharing the good practices and sustaining the leader role as a mission by participating in all national and international meetings, panels, events such as symposiums on the rehabilitation of the mine sites.
In rehabilitation practices, we believe that projects need to be prepared and implemented based on scientific data and that it is important to include the stakeholders in the process. Along with this, from a wide perspective, we promote rehabilitation concurrent with production, with a cost effective approach. However, at this point, we would like to emphasize that developing a legislative infrastructure to grant the permits for mining activities, given by different institutions within a licensed area for larger ones, considering the long-term activities will contribute to preparing and implementing the rehabilitation plans in line with the reality.
With the pioneer and visionary approach we show in the rehabilitation practices as the sector, remarking that definition of Environmental Impact Assessment is common in all regulations, we recommend that a common national legislation infrastructure is developed in collaboration with the relevant institutions. It is projected that, instead of submitting Environmental Compliance Plan for the permissions from MAPEG, Rehabilitation Project for the permissions from the General Directorate of Forestry, Reclamation Project to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization at the EIA stage, preparing these projects as one project with the same goal in a more feasible, planned and integrated manner during the EIA process and rendering this project valid in all public institutions will increase the interest of the companies into rehabilitation activities and their motivation for implementation and also prevent differences in project and actual implementation due to the fact that there is more than one project.
As a conclusion, Turkish cement sector, as a sector considering environment among indispensable priorities, cares about the rehabilitation of the quarry sites and supports this approach by taking positive steps with its technical implementations to make the ecosystem sustainable day by day. Accordingly, cement sector shapes its future with a leading vision adopting that rehabilitation is not only an environmental concept but also a social, economic and most importantly cultural one in our day.