National mineral and aggregates strategy takes shape in the UK

In a move that will interest aggregate producers worldwide, the United Kingdom is developing a new national “Minerals Strategy.” The plan sets out a new agenda for the British aggregates industry, and is designed to encourage government and others to drive a sustainable supply of minerals for the next generation.

The strategy was launched this month in London at the ‘Living with Minerals 6’ (LWM6) conference organised by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) Minerals Group and Mineral Products Association (MPA).

The new “Future of Minerals and the UK Minerals Strategy” document makes clear why a national aggregates strategy is essential: “Minerals and mineral products are essential to the economy and our quality of life.”

However, it goes on to say, “there is growing concern that their supply and the policies supporting the industry are increasingly being neglected by Government.  The supply of the raw materials essential for all sectors of the economy, not least for housing and infrastructure, cannot be assumed; it needs planning, monitoring and managing.”

Entitled “The Future of Minerals and the UK Minerals Strategy,” the plan has been discussed by experts from the aggregates industry itself, regulators, planners, and non-governmental organisations including: Andrew Bloodworth, science director, British Geological Survey; John Cowley on behalf of Wolf Minerals; Mark North, director of planning at the MPA; Andy Tickle from CPRE and Dr. Ian Selby, chair of UK Minerals Forum.

According to Nigel Jackson, chairman of the CBI Minerals Group and MPA chief executive, a national aggregates strategy “could not be more topical or urgent: Minerals and mineral products are essential for the economy and their supply cannot be assumed: it needs planning, monitoring and managing. Government has taken its eye off the ball and is failing to make the link between the need for a secure supply of minerals and mineral products to enable the delivery of much needed housing and infrastructure, and to underpin wider economic growth.”

Jackson wants to “galvanise the industry, planners, NGOs, other relevant stakeholders and Government into action to ensure supplies of over 5 billion tonnes of minerals and mineral products are secured and properly planned and supplied for the next 25 years.”

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