IGF Case Study: Biodiversity and Mining Governance in Senegal and Turkey

This case study presents how mining’s impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems have been managed in Senegal and Turkey using the mitigation hierarchy.

By Alec Crawford, Simon Furnell on July 18, 2022

The integration of biodiversity and ecosystem protections into mining policy and legislation has emerged from an increased and expanding understanding— from the public, governments, and corporations—of ecological processes and ecosystem services; the economic importance of nature-based tourism; the close links between environmental health and community support for mining projects; and the operational and reputational risks that can result from destroyed, degraded, or disturbed biodiversity.

When not properly planned, activities across the mine life cycle—from exploration through the post-mining transition—can have significant impacts on the natural world. From land-use change and deforestation to pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, the unintended introduction of invasive species, and other pressures linked to increasing human populations, there are many ways in which mining operations can influence local and national biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Many of these impacts are unavoidable but can be minimized and mitigated with good planning. Because communities, governments, and mine operators now recognize the role that biodiversity plays in supporting local economies and operations and in maintaining the physical and mental well-being of workers and surrounding communities, they have placed greater value on addressing these impacts to conserve and protect biodiversity and ecosystems. Doing so requires that communities and governments balance their development priorities with their conservation needs. Through collaborative planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, stakeholders can work with mining projects to ensure that economic value is generated with no net loss (NNL) of biodiversity. In the best-case scenario, when properly planned and implemented, mining activities can even lead to a net gain for nature over the life of the mine.

This case study presents how impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems have been managed using the mitigation hierarchy framework to guide mine operators in Senegal and Turkey in reducing the significant negative impacts of operations on priority biodiversity and ecosystem services.