Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Quarrying and mining developments in Devon >>> consultation continues on County minerals plan

The County Council is putting together its Minerals Plan:
Devon Minerals Plan | Planning

It has been consulting on this for some time:
Futures Forum: Quarrying in East Devon >>> consultation begins on County minerals plan

The draft includes the controversial plans for a quarry outside Ottery St Mary:

Straitgate Farm proposed as 100 quarrying acre site in Devon County Council’s minerals plan

Sunday, 06 September 2015  by Claire

What doesn’t make sense at all about this is that you can’t have a quarry without a processing facility.

So far there is a stalemate on where processing takes place for quarrying at Straitgate Farm, Ottery. Aggregate Industries wants to process at Blackhill quarry on Woodbury Common, but Devon County Council is opposed to this, because of the strict international and national environmental designations attached to it. Yet Straitgate still appears in the draft minerals plan, now out for consultation until 16 November .....

Straitgate Farm proposed as 100 quarrying acre site in Devon County Council’s minerals plan - Claire Wright

Cllr Wright refers to the story in Pulman's Weekly:

OTTERY ST MARY: New proposal for Straitgate Farm

Friday, 4 September 2015 By Peter Hodges

STRAITGATE Farm has been proposed as a possible site for mining aggregates as part of the Devon Minerals Plan.

The proposal comes just months after Ottery Town Council’s Planning Committee opposed plans from Aggregate Industries to turn the site into a quarry and planning chiefs at East Devon District Council had objected to the proposal as well.

A consultation period, about this suggestion, has now been set up and will run until November 16th, following this the document will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss MP, in early 2016, together with all responses. The minister will then appoint an inspector to hold an inquiry into the plans. It is anticipated that the Minerals Plan will be adopted by the end of 2016, replacing the existing Mineral Local Plan 2004, and will cover the period until 2033.

The Devon Minerals Plan will try to strike a balance between maintaining the supply of the wide range of mineral resources needed while minimising the environmental effects. And although some resources reserves are expected to last beyond 18 years, Devon County Council believes its necessary for the plan to propose new areas to ensure supply.

Along with the consultation period set up, Devon County Council have released a list of responses to the concerns brought up in the past over the possible usage of Straitgate for the purpose of mining gravel and sand.

The public complained that extra lorries travelling to and from the processing plant would have a large negative impact on traffic and road safety. DCC’s response stated that the limited size of Straitgate means that it wouldn’t be feasible as a processing plant but to help ease traffic concerns an acceptable access point would be established, on the northern side of the site, closer to the A30 so that the lorries wouldn’t join the B3174.

Another concern raised in the comments about the site was adverse consequences on the local economy, with shops and property prices being the worst hit. Devon County Council said the minerals plan would contain policies that would minimise the impact on residents near the site but didn’t say what these policies would be.

When Aggregate Industries had proposed use of the site as a quarry and to extend the life of nearby Blackhill Quarry until 2021, Ottery locals and members of the council had described the suggestion as “absolutely appalling”.

Councillor Jerry Brook, Chairman of Devon County Council’s Development Management Committee said: “This latest consultation is another opportunity for people across the county to have their say and help inform development of the emerging Devon Minerals Plan. The plan has to balance the supply of the county’s natural mineral resources, while minimising the impact on Devon’s environment and local residents. We feel we have struck the right balance, but we look forward to hearing people’s views.”

The consultation will run until November 16th is available online at https://new.devon.gov.uk/haveyoursay it will also be available at council offices in the area.

Alternatively you can call 01392 383510 or email mineral@devon.gov.uk

That's the pits! Village fury at quarrying plan

By Mid Devon Gazette | Posted: September 08, 2015 


Councillor Jerry Brook, chairman of Devon County Council's development management committee, said: "This latest consultation is another opportunity for people across the county to have their say and help inform the development of the emerging Devon Minerals Plan. The Plan has to balance the supply of the county's natural mineral resources, while minimising the impact on Devon's environment and local residents. We feel we have struck the right balance, but look forward to hearing people's views."

Following the consultation, the document will be submitted to the Secretary of State in early 2016, together with all responses. The Secretary of State will then appoint an inspector to hold an inquiry. It is anticipated that the Minerals Plan will be adopted by the end of 2016.

The consultation, which will continue until Monday, November 16, is available online. It will also be available at council offices.

In the meantime, just outside Plymouth, a new mine has opened:

New £130million mine on the edge of Plymouth opens for business

By Plymouth Herald | Posted: September 18, 2015

THE first metal mine to open in the UK for nearly half a century is ‘open for business’ and ready to ramp up production.

The £130 million Drakelands tungsten mine at Hemerdon on the edge of Dartmoor was officially set into motion by British and Australian representatives as well as officials from Wolf Minerals, the company behind the project.

Wolf chairman John Hopkins who flew into the UK from Australia for the occasion, said the Devon mine was of international significance and will produce 20 per cent of the Western World’s tungsten needs. He said: “If you look out of the window you can all be proud of what you see. This is a wonderful development.”

Russell Clark, managing director of Wolf Minerals, added: “This makes this mine not only important but strategic. Demand for tungsten is not going to drop and there is no substitute for it. This makes Drakelands a very special place indeed.”

The mine has been several decades in the making as the price for commodities such as tungsten and tin dropped in the 80s and investors turned their back on the project. But with demand for tungsten at an all-time high, re-opening Hemerdon has once again become commercially viable.

Wolf Minerals is hoping to produce one lorry load of tungsten concentrate a day. Tungsten sells for $38,000 a tonne compared with $120 for a tonne of coal. Wolf Minerals expects tin to represents 10% of its revenues. The mine employs about 200 highly skilled staff, including 15% of women, and many workers are from the Westcountry and, after a lifetime working on mines in Africa, South America or Australia, have come home.

Plymouth born and bred Charlie Northfield, the processing plant manager, trained at the Camborne School of Mines before working in Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and Vietnam amongst others. The 58-year-old, whose family still lives in Plymouth, said: “Working on this mine is an opportunity of a lifetime to come back to Devon. I’m proud to see the development of a mine on such scale close to my home town.”

Officially opening the mine, which will be producing 5,000 tonnes of tungsten concentrate out of three million tonnes of ore a year, Lord-lieutenant of Devon David Fursdon along with Australia High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer, said the Anglo-Australian operation will greatly contribute not only to the South West’s economy but to Britain’s economy too.

Mr Fursdon said: “This is international in scope but firmly rooted in the locality. It has brought people back from overseas to work in Devon. Wolf Minerals has offered contracts to local companies, has engaged with the local communities and has shown the highest standards of environmental responsibility. This is a huge investment for the region and for Britain.”

Cllr John Hart, leader of Devon County Council who was among 200 guests attending the official opening, and whose ward the mine is on, said: “The moonscape that’s appearing out here shows the commitment of the company. The investment happening here is phenomenal.”

Cllr Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council, who also attended, added: “The economic impact of this project will be felt in Devon and in Plymouth. It is fantastic for the local economy and for Britain’s economy. This mine is of truly international significance.”


TUNGSTEN, also known as wolfram, is a chemical element. The word tungsten comes from the Swedish language tung sten, meaning heavy stone. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as a metal in 1783. It has the highest melting point of all the elements.

Tungsten's many alloys have numerous applications, most notably in incandescent light bulb filaments, X-ray tubes, electrodes in TIG welding, superalloys, and radiation shielding. Tungsten's hardness and high density give it military applications in penetrating projectiles.


THE Hemerdon tungsten-tin deposit was discovered in 1867 and in 1916, due to war-associated tungsten shortages, an exploration program was initiated. In 1917, Hemerdon Mines Ltd decided to construct a 140,000-tonne per year mill. The mine was operated in 1918 and 1919. When the British government stopped accepting tungsten ores under the war pricing scheme the mine was forced to suspend mining operations.

In 1939 further shortages of tungsten due to WW2 led to Hemerdon Wolfram Ltd constructing a 90,000-tonne per year mill which began operation in 1941. Operations ceased in June 1944 due to access to overseas supplies being restored.


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