The need for more a supportive national policy and investment environment for UK minerals was stressed at the sixth CBI Minerals Group and Mineral Products Association (MPA) 'Living with Minerals 6' (LWM6) 'Securing Minerals for the Next Generation and the UK Minerals Strategy' Conference at Church House, Westminster on 10th July.
The conference celebrated the industry's successes while underlining the need to better 'make the link' between mineral and mineral products and the economy and our quality of life.
This is one of the main themes of the UK Mineral Strategy,' Meeting the demand for minerals and mineral products sustainably for the next 25 years' that was launched at the Conference by Niall Mackenzie, Director of Infrastructure and Materials on behalf of Richard Harrington MP, Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
In his speech, Niall Mackenzie said that supporting a productive, innovative, sustainable and successful minerals sector was a common objective.
"The Minerals Strategy, which I'm pleased to see launched today, will help to achieve this. It provides a clear strategy for a sector that plays such a key role in the UK economy…"
"Without mineral products, not only would we be unable to build our homes, roads, railways and places of work, we also couldn't produce the food we eat, the electronic devices we use, or the chemical products on which we rely every single day…"
"All these sectors start with minerals – so we should appreciate that, and we appreciate the sectors that produce them. I know you play a vital, but often unappreciated role in the UK economy..."
"That is something that the Government would like to change, through our Industrial Strategy, and in particular, the Construction Sector Deal…"
"The Construction Sector Deal sets out an ambitious strategy for the whole of the construction sector and supply chain; from minerals and products to contracting and professional services – all of which will be vital to the success of the Deal..."
The Strategy, prepared on behalf of the mineral products industry by the CBI Minerals Group and MPA, highlights that UK demand for minerals and mineral products over the next 25 years will be at least 5 billion tonnes, most of which needs to be sourced from within the UK. It identifies that the following key measures are needed in order to achieve this:
- Recognise that minerals and mineral products, and the industry that supplies them, are essential to the economy and our quality of life;
- Recognise that supply cannot be assumed, it needs to be planned, monitored and managed;
- Ensure a steady and adequate provision is made, primarily through the land-use planning system; and
- Establish supportive policy, operating and trading conditions to enable UK industry to thrive and invest in future supply.
Of overriding importance is the requirement for a strong national minerals and mineral products policy and statement of need. This would inform and underpin national, regional and local planning to enable sufficient minerals and mineral products to be supplied to key sectors of the economy.
The event, attended by over 160 delegates representing over 90 organisations, also included panel sessions with speakers drawn from the industry, regulators, planning authorities and non-governmental organisations. Presenting and acting as facilitator for the day, Science and Technology Presenter, Angela Lamont led sessions discussing recent investments and developments, and consideration of what the future holds.
Andrew Bloodworth, Science Director at the British Geological Survey, Jeremy Wrathall, CEO of Cornish Lithium, Gareth Edmunds, External Affairs Director at Sirius Mineral sand Owen Mihalop, COO Strongbow Exploration (South Crofty Tin) provided insights into UK mineral wealth and current new developments.
Mark North, Director of Planning, MPA, Lonek Wojtulewicz, Head of Planning, Historic and Natural Environment at Leicestershire County Council and of the Planning Officers' Society, John Cowley, Independent Consultant and CBI Minerals Group and Andy Tickle from the Campaign to Protect Rural England discussed the future of UK mineral planning and the current state of the planning system.
Dr. Ian Selby, Director of Sustainable Geoscience at Plymouth University and Chair of the UK Minerals Forum, Nigel Symes, Head of Business Advice, RSPB, Carolyn Williams, Group Leader, Minerals and Waste from Urban Vision and Mark Russell, Executive Director of Planning at MPA discussed the challenges we all face with regard to supply and demand for sand amongst other mineral resources.
Statements welcoming the Strategy were given by Mark Pawsey MP, who is a member of the BEIS Select Committee, and Ruth George MP, who is a member of the APPG Mining and Quarrying.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive MPA and Chair of the CBI Minerals Group who introduced the strategy on behalf the industry, said:
"The industry has been working towards the development of a UK Minerals Strategy over the last 20 years but particularly since 2004 and the previous five 'Living with Minerals' conferences have helped the industry engage with key stakeholders to try and develop a balanced strategy built around sustainable development principles. The strategy will hopefully enable the next generation in the industry build on the lessons of the previous and also help glue the wider industry together to face the challenges of the future not least maintaining a steady and adequate supply of all our mineral needs. The nine pillars which underpin the strategy create a platform for future work with relevant stakeholders and it is hoped that the UK Minerals Forum can play a role in some of them. The minerals industry is essential to construction and manufacturing, our economy and our way of life and offers fantastic opportunities in all disciplines for anyone who wants to work in a great industry so important to the UK."
The CBI Minerals Group (CBIMG) brings together all land won extraction interests, including coal, the industrial and the construction minerals. MPA is represented on the group which it currently chairs.