The UK Minerals Forum (UKMF) Working Group has published a report that examines how a stable and secure supply of minerals can be achieved in order to support the region’s population and economy to 2050. The key findings of the Future Minerals Scenarios for the UK report include:
- Despite the increasing contributions of renewable energy, resource efficiency and recycling, there will be a continuing need to extract minerals in the UK – this requires more effective strategic industrial planning.
- The UK faces increasing global competition for raw materials, but future supply cannot be guaranteed in the face of political instability and increasing restrictions in availability.
- Uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU has potential to affect mineral prices and availability, and industry’s readiness to invest in the UK’s minerals supply chain.
- The UK is not self-sufficient in some key minerals, notably metals and increasingly in energy (oil, gas and coal). Whether the country’s shale gas reserves could be extracted in sufficient quantity to help offset this is not clear, and requires significant further work.
- However the UK has adequate resources of many non-energy minerals, notably for construction, to 2050 and beyond.
- Long-term access to these minerals is crucial to support an expanding population through sustainable growth of an economy rebalanced towards manufacturing and production – providing more homes, renewed infrastructure and places of employment, low carbon power generation and enhanced flood protection.
- There is an urgent need to resolve the present conflict in UK national policies between securing lower carbon energy and carbon pricing. This discourages investment in essential mineral-based products such as bricks and cement, drives jobs abroad and exports the UK’s carbon footprint.
- Continued access to minerals in the UK should not be at the expense of adverse impacts on the environment. So far the UK has generally been able to secure adequate and steady supplies within a highly protective environmental framework, and with care this should still be possible.
- Continuing to meet the UK’s minerals needs as far as possible from UK resources cannot be taken for granted. All those involved – industry, environmental organisations, central and local government and other regulators – need to work together to develop a long-term national minerals strategy, as an integral part of the UK’s wider industrial strategy.
The main findings and recommendations from the report will be presented to the CBI Minerals Group at the Living With Minerals 5 Conference in London on 17 November 2014.
“We cannot do without minerals, for energy, our homes, roads, railways, workplaces, hospitals, flood defence, chemicals and manufacturing. Many, especially for construction, are still obtained in the UK. These would be especially hard and expensive to import. So where we get them is important. This report shows how dependent we are on minerals, relying more and more on imports in an increasingly uncertain world. But the UK still has significant mineral resources in important sectors of the economy. Future Minerals Scenarios for the UK sets out how we can secure these sustainably through a national minerals strategy prepared in collaboration between the minerals industries, central and local government, environmentalists and regulators,” said Lester Hicks, Chairman of UKMF.
The full report can be read here.
Adapted from press release by Louise Fordham
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/22102014/future-minerals-scenarios-for-the-uk-report-published-720/