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TITAN operations for the production of cement and aggregates heavily depend on the use of natural resources. Mining activities could have an impact on the biodiversity of flora and fauna habitats. Environmental impact assessment and rehabilitation plans have been developed and applied in order to mitigate quarry impacts. Specific cases related to endangered species and habitats are being further assessed, such as the Initial Ecological Scoping Study in Zlatna Panega Quarry (Bulgaria) and the Biodiversity Study in Artimes Quarry (Patras, Greece), aiming at developing specific management plans for the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity.

In 2009 the total area of active quarries was 97.1 million m2, out of which 17.7 million m2 are affected by operations, 13.2 million m2 have been already rehabilitated or reclaimed to date (cumulative) and 66.2 million m2 are still untouched.

As reported in 2008 and in accordance with the EU Habitats Directive, part of the Zlatna Panega Quarry in Bulgaria was included in the Natura 2000 Network of sites as the Karlukovo Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Under the framework of TITAN’s CSR and Group Targets for Environmental Sustainability, a biodiversity assessment –a process called “Initial Ecological Scoping Study”– was initiated by assignment to an International Company of Specialists with the purpose to make an inventory of the habitats and species present in the area of the quarry and evaluate potential ecological constraints of the current operations, as well as of future perspectives.

The Study was completed in July 2009, included both a desk evaluation and a field survey, and covered an area of ~2km2, including the following:

  • Evaluation of existing information about the Natura 2000 designation process in Bulgaria and especially the features of protection in the Karlukovo SAC area, 
  • Description of the types of habitats and notable species that were recognized in the area based on the field survey findings, 
  • Evaluation of the conservation importance of the habitats and species (like the ‘sub-pannonic steppic grasslands’, and ‘bee-orchid species’ of flora, nesting bats and wild birds in the vicinity etc.), as well as the potential ecological impacts of the quarry activities (investigations to continue), and 
  • Conclusions with a set of recommendations for the Appropriate Assessment procedure, the dialogue with government authorities and consultation with NGO’s, as well as further investigations and surveys that are necessary for the completion of a full Ecological Impact Assessment (as part of an overall EIA).

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Biodiversity Study for Artimes limestone quarry of Patras cement plant

The Artimes limestone quarry, operating since the late 1960’s, for sourcing TITAN’s Patras Cement Plant mainly with limestone raw materials, represents a “show-case” of the rehabilitation policy followed by TITAN.

Starting from the early 1970’s, TITAN has been focused in systematic quarry restoration and rehabilitation, by applying best practices, including on-site nurseries for “growing” of young plants. Evidently, the progress of this 30-year commitment to re-forest and rehabilitate has been remarkable, and it is visible in the case of Artimes although in the meantime two wild fires partly destroyed the trees within the restored quarry areas.

TITAN took a step further in 2009, for recording the inventory and investigating the value of biodiversity, inside the quarry limits and in the surrounding areas. The study was conducted in cooperation with the University of Patras, with the target to better understand and quantify the different types of biodiversity, focusing on the achieved progress of growth of flora within the depleted and rehabilitated quarry areas. The study provided recommendations for alternative practices and selection of species, so as to improve the end-result and preserve the value of biodiversity in the site.


 

TITAN America Biodiversity Program in Roanoke

TITAN America’s Roanoke Cement Company launched a new partnership with Trout Unlimited, a national organization dedicated to conserve, protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. In March 2009, 350 rainbow trouts “released” into a former quarry pond on TITAN’s site.

In the framework of this new partnership, the quarry pond, in an old limestone pit, filled by groundwater inflows and rainfall, and with adequate control of water level (by pumping) for preventing flooding conditions, has easily met the requirements for hosting the environmentally sensitive trout. TITAN America in Roanoke has planned a second release of trout into Catawba Creek, which passes through the plant property, as another step in this initiative.

TITAN America’s Roanoke cement has developed and applied a long-standing water and land management program at the Troutville plant. For example, every year for the last four years, the plant has held the “Catawba Creek Cleanup,” a Saturday morning gathering of employees and local residents who walk the banks of surrounding Catawba Creek “policing” the stream. Part of the creek is located within the limits of the cement plant and the company has adopted this annual ritual to ensure the area is kept pristine.

Further, TITAN has committed to provide funding for a grassroots program to raise awareness on preserving valuable watershed resources. The Trout Unlimited “Trout In the Classroom” program allows middle to high school students observe trout grow in an aquarium setting in their classrooms. Starting in September and continuing through April, the students bear the responsibility of “baby-sitting” or providing the vulnerable fish with everything they need to live. The students raise the trout from eggs to fingerlings, monitoring water tank quality and engaging in a stream habitat study, while realizing the goals of appreciating water resources, fostering a conservation ethic and understanding ecosystem connectivity. The mature fish are then released back into nature in the spring, a perfect adjunct to TITAN’s clean water efforts. Three local schools completed the program in 2009, and 16 schools are targeted for 2010.

 


 

TITAN America’s Award for Gopher Tortoise Habitat

In May 2009, TITAN America’s Center Sand Mine, located in Clermont, Florida, received a First Place “Pride of Mine” Award from the Florida Limerock & Aggregate Industry (FLAI) to honor a recently-completed Gopher Tortoise Relocation Project. The gopher tortoise, an endangered species, is a burrowing creature and mining encroaches on its burrows. Company officials launched a rescue effort and decided to create a 35-acre nature preserve habitat adjacent to the Center Sand Mine property in order to safeguard the tortoises.

The project included acquiring a Gopher Tortoise Relocation permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Site surveys were conducted to determine locations and quantities of inhabited burrows on the property. Hog fencing was buried in the ground at approximately five to six inches deep around the area to protect and contain the tortoises. Pine trees were thinned and the land was reseeded with foraging plants suitable for the turtles. Fifty-six turtles (22 males, 24 females, 10 immature) were humanely removed from the mining area and placed into their new habitat.