Olive oil, citrus fruits, and grapes being harvested in abundance from restored sites across Europe
CEMEX’s commitment to considered and high-quality restoration of their quarries has resulted in the harvesting of olive oil, citrus fruits, and grapes from locations in Croatia and Spain.
In Split, Croatia, CEMEX organized a volunteering activity in the olive groves located in their quarry, in co-operation with the Agricultural and Veterans’ Co-operative Lintar. In a few hours, seven teams of five to six volunteers managed to break the daily record with 1,162kg of olives harvested. Almost 6.5 tonnes of olives were collected, from which 900 litres of eco-certified extra virgin olive oil will be produced. CEMEX also involved students from two local community primary schools to help with the harvest.
Restored quarries in CEMEX’s Spanish operation provided additional examples of successful horticulture and environmental enrichment from productive restoration. The former ‘El Clotet’ quarry, near Alicante, is now a 138ha agricultural holding with more than 55,000 fruit trees. Between October and May, the farm will collect more than 2,000 tonnes of citrus fruits for both national and export markets.
Rafael Sempere, head of CEMEX's agricultural division in Spain, said: ‘This restored quarry is an example of a sustainable, environmentally friendly farm that uses the latest irrigation techniques to avoid wasting a single drop of water, a very valuable resource in Spain.’
Another pioneering Spanish project is CEMEX’s vineyard located in the former quarry of the Yepes cement factory, near Toledo. Here, 30ha of land and 92,000 plants of the best grape varieties are cultivated in a restored natural environment. The production of grapes and wine from this site demonstrates how properly restored industrial land can provide agricultural production of benefit to both the local community and the natural habitat.
Andrew Spencer, vice-president of corporate affairs, sustainability, and ERM at CEMEX EMEA, said: ‘We recognize that our industry has consequences for the environment, but CEMEX are working hard to actively counteract climate change and this drive is present through all aspects of our business.
‘In our cement and aggregate quarrying operations across Europe, we restore and recultivate our sites to provide optimal conditions that are managed well to deliver for biodiversity. The recent harvests in Croatia and Spain, in particular, demonstrate how valuable this can be, both for wildlife and for local communities. Our vision is of a successful, sustainable CEMEX making a positive contribution to people and the environment.’