Extractive Waste Directive (2006/21/EC)

Last updated: 11 December 2023

The Extractive Waste Directive requires any operator responsible for managing extractive waste (i.e. the waste generated by mining operations) to obtain a permit. The measures contained in the Directive cover waste management from prospecting to extraction, treatment and storage of waste including tailings, waste rock, overburden and topsoil. 
Under Article 5, operators are required to submit waste management plans with the following objectives:

  • to prevent or reduce waste production and its harmfulness;
  • to encourage the recovery of extractive waste by means of recycling, reusing or reclaiming such waste, where this is environmentally sound;
  • to ensure short and long-term safe disposal of the extractive waste, in particular by considering, during the design phase, management during the operation and after‐closure of a waste facility.

The waste management plan shall be reviewed every five years and amended according to changes in operation or waste deposited. The plan shall include proposed control, monitoring and mitigation procedures, as well as a proposed plan for closure, including rehabilitation, after-closure procedures and monitoring.
Article 6 contains measures for major accident prevention and information. Operators are responsible for enacting major-accident prevention policies for each site and appointing a safety manager responsible for its implementation and periodic supervision. 

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