The Austrian Minerals Strategy

The Austrian minerals strategy is to be understood as the essential instrument to transpose the national minerals policy into reality successfully. It is the priority objective to ensure and to improve the supply of the Austrian economy with minerals and commodities. Similar to the Raw Materials Initiative of the European Commission the Austrian raw materials strategy is based on three pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Securing minerals supply from domestic resources (realisation of the Austrian Mineral Resources Plan)
  • Pillar 2: Securing minerals supply from Non-EU countries (raw materials partnerships)
  • Pillar 3: Promoting resources efficiency (substitution, recycling, development of new methods with reduced minerals input)

Pillar 1

The Austrian Mineral Resources Plan

The Austrian Mineral Resources Plan is a core element of the Austrian minerals policy and the minerals strategy (Pillar 1). It is the main purpose of the Austrian Mineral Resources Plan to identify mineral occurrences using innovative, objective and systemanalytical methods (WEBER ed. 2012). As in many cases areas containing mineral occurrences are in contradiction with land use planning a first approach was made to identify conflict free areas. Those mineral occurrences, proved as worth to be protected because of quality, quantity and not coinciding with “nogo” or conflict zones in land-use had been handed over to the competent authorities of the provinces to declare them as raw material safeguarding areas in land use planning. More than 245 occurrences of metallic ores and industrial minerals have been qualified to be safeguarded. However, of outmost importance was the identification of conflict free occurrences of construction materials (sand, gravel, crushed stone). By respecting safeguarding methods in land use planning it was possible to hold sand and gravel available for > 50 years, crushed stone for > 100 years for most supply regions (safeguarding by demand).

Pillar 2

Raw Material Partnerships

Notwithstanding the international efforts of the EC, Austria is exploring bilateral agreements with countries important and interesting for the raw material supply of Austrian economy. Currently negotiations with Mongolia are taking place.

Pillar 3

Resource efficiency

Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water management developed in a stakeholder process the "Austrian Action Plan on Resource Efficiency, which was published in 2012.

Horizontal activities

Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy founded in 2012 the Austrian Raw Material Alliance, which is acting as a discussion platform of stakeholders interested in improvements of raw material supply. The overarching objective of this platform is the reduction of import dependency and increasing the supply security of raw material important for the Austrian economy. An initial focus has been placed on identifying strategies to increase recovery of critical raw materials (critical for the Austrian economy) out of waste. In three rounds of talks so far, a package was put to practical recommendations for the achievement of objectives. These recommendations for action to improve the framework conditions of R & D and regulatory framework should be subsequently implemented. Implementation of resource-related issues in a research program called "Production of the Future" is already fixed.

The "Austrian Raw Material Alliance" is acting as a mirror committee of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.

Additional Information, EU-level

European Commission Enterprise and Industry

published at 10.01.2018, Kommunikation und Service (Abteilung Präs. 5)