Towards a Minerals Local Plan for Derbyshire and Derby

Towards a Strategy for Vein Minerals

Planning, Economic, Social and Environmental Issues

2.1      Vein minerals are a scarce, but very important resource due to the specialist uses to which they can be applied. The winning and working of these resources in Derbyshire has been on a small scale compared to other minerals, although the extraction operations have provided some economic benefits but with some adverse impacts on the environment. The significance of these impacts has been particularly noticeable in those situations where the extraction sites were located in the more sensitive parts of the County. The demand for these minerals has varied in line with the fortunes of particular industries and domestic production has met growing competition from sources elsewhere in the world. Notwithstanding the uncertainties for future demand and production, it is important that the MLP sets out how provision can be made and how any proposals for the extraction of vein mineral reserves in Derbyshire in the future will be assessed and accommodated.

2.2      The factors that the MLP will need to take account of are:

  • The small scale nature of the fluorspar and barytes industry compared to other minerals and the marked decline in domestic production over the last thirty years.
  • The unpredictable level of demand for fluorspar and barytes in the United Kingdom.
  • The availability of cheaper resources from other countries.
  • The economic need for processing facilities to be located close to the sources of the raw material.
  • The high cost of the processing plant relative to the volume of material processed and the limited prospects for new facilities being established in Derbyshire.
  • The availability of an existing and recently refurbished processing facility within the Peak Park.
  • The existence of known and permitted reserves at new or partly worked sites in the Peak Park.
  • The lack of permitted reserves in the rest of Derbyshire and the limited level of information about the location and economic viability of reserves in the area.
  • The absence of interest from vein mineral operators in sites within Derbyshire outside the Peak Park during the last ten years or more.