The exploitation of minerals in Europe is an indispensable activity to ensure that the present and future needs of the European society can be met. This means that sufficient access is required to explore and exploit minerals. At the same time the mineral needs of our society must be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accordingly exploitable mineral deposits (known deposits, abandoned mines and historical mining sites) need to be assessed against other land uses, taking into account criteria such as habitats, other environmental concerns, priorities for settlements, etc. Access to mineral deposits, on the other hand, also meets public interests such as raw materials security (compared with many international access options). The deliberation between these diverse land uses requires adequate consideration of the exclusiveness, reversibility, and consequences on the surrounding. The overall objective of MINATURA 2020 is to develop a concept and methodology (i.e. a harmonised European regulatory/guidance/policy framework) for the definition and subsequent protection of “mineral deposits of public importance” in order to ensure their “best use” in the future. Providing a policy planning framework that comprises the “sustainability principle” for mining is the key driving force behind MINATURA.