The EU Mine Data Viewer allows the public to access and compare data on coal mines across the EU.
Monitoring and tracking are critical to the transformation of the economy to counter the climate crisis. However, there is no comprehensive data reporting which shows the multidimensional impact of mines on the environment. Despite the legal obligations to report industrial emissions data, it is also not easy to access plant level data.
In addition, mine activities not only extract minerals from the ground but also impact and pollute the landscape, vegetation and habitats, water bodies and the air. It also displaces communities, affects livelihoods and increases risk of conflicts in the region. With the EU racing towards decarbonisation, coal mines and regions are part of ensuring the social and economic transformation of Europe into a climate neutral economy.
Accessible information about mines is thus essential to track the environmental impact of coal mining. Providing easy digital access to analyses based on information already generated by industry is necessary to increase transparency and accountability of industrial activities. The EU Mine Data Viewer looks to fill in this gap and provide a reliable source of information on Europe’s coal mines.
This database contains data for 145 coal mines in Europe (97 lignite mines, 39 hard coal and 11 coking coal). 120 mines are in operation, 7 are proposed and 19 have been closed, retired or cancelled. 74 of the 137 mines are surface mines, 64 are underground and 7 have both underground. The mines occupy about 260,000 hectares and keep 230,000 people employed. The top 10 mines emit almost 40% of all the CO2 estimated using annual production or maximum mining capacity.
There are 76 ground water bodies connected to the mines in the database. Over 36% of all the mines are in high water stress areas and 55% of all the lignite mines are in high water stress areas. 57% of the water bodies are in poor quantitative status and 55% in poor chemical status. The average residential water cost (including wastewater treatment costs) is 11 to 88 times higher as compared to the cost paid by mining operators.