Environmental classification of mining activities

Environmental permitting is performed pursuant to L.4014/2011, as amended and valid. It is the most time consuming and demanding procedure within the licensing/permitting process of the mining projects and activities in Greece. The complexity and time duration of the environmental permitting is affected by the category of the project, as set in the MD37674/2016 as amended and valid, that classifies projects and activities into Groups and Types.

Mining Projects and Activities constitute Group 5 of Annex V of this decision, entitled “Extractive and related activities” which includes twelve (12) types of projects/activities. Each type of project/activity defined is classified into categories A and B. Category A is further subdivided in A1 and A2 subcategories. A summary of this classification per type of mineral raw material, processed by the authors, is presented in Table 2.1.2-1. Click here to see the related Table of Annex V of MD 37674/2016.

The classification of a project/activity in a specific category depends on the significance of the expected environmental impacts of that project. Sub-category A1 corresponds to projects/activities with significant environmental impacts. The provisions for the environmental permitting for such projects are complicated and lengthy, considering the legal timeframe set in L.4014/2011. Sub-category A2 lists projects / activities with less significant environmental impacts and its procedures for environmental permitting are easier. For each of the above subcategories, an EIA Study is prepared according to MD170225/2014 as amended, submitted and evaluated. The permit is granted with the Environmental Terms Approval Decision (AEPO).

Projects and activities listed under category B are characterized by insignificant environmental impacts and for this reason they do not require an Environmental Impacts Assessment Study (EIA Study) for environmental permitting (article 8 of L.4014/2011). These projects and activities are subject to Standard Environmental Commitments (SEC) or Standardized Environmental Terms.

For all projects and activities classified into Sub-category A1, the competent authority for the evaluation of the EIA study is the Ministry of Environment and Energy (YPEN). The AEPO takes the form of a MD issued by YPEN. The projects and activities that are included in Sub-category A2 are submitted to the De-Centralised Administration for environmental permitting. In the latter case, the AEPO is issued by the De-Centralised Administration.

Table 2.1.2-1: Processed summary of extractive and related activities’ classification per type of mineral raw material