Mineral Sterilisation – Not your problem?

We have experienced a clear uplift in operators finding their ambitions for future mineral extraction curtailed by nearby non-minerals development.

Whilst the topic of mineral sterilisation as a whole is vast, this article intends to touch on some of the basic principles used in protecting known mineral resources.

1. Seek allocation (recognition) in emerging mineral local plans: When the letter / e-mail lands from your Mineral Planning Authority asking if you know of any land to be put forward for allocation, do not ignore it. Regardless of how far in the future your aspirations are get the land allocated.

2. Be aware of nearby non-minerals development: This isn’t a call to object to every Dormer Bungalow conversion within a 5km radius, more an appeal for general awareness of local development. As towns / villages inexorably expand, known mineral resources will be encroached upon, an objection to nearby development may not be necessary but a comment to the Planning Authority highlighting the presence and importance of your mineral resource is essential.

3. National Planning Policy is on your side: British Geological Survey mapping data has been used to generate most basic mineral safeguarding areas and provides a reasonable estimate of where mineral resources may be encountered. Any non-mineral development within a mineral safeguarding area must consider the prior extraction of minerals, demonstrate that a viable mineral deposit does not exist, or, that the sterilisation of minerals is justified. 

If you consider a proposed nearby development prejudices the viability of future mineral extraction from within a mineral safeguarding area – inform the Planning Authority.

4. Data, Data & Data: It is one thing to say you have a mineral resource that should not be sterilised, it is another to prove it. Gather data through physical investigation to support your case.

You have an obligation as an operator to remain aware of the local planning environment.


For assistance with mineral sterilisation or allocation matters, contact MPG Ltd.