Utilisation of multiple current and legacy datasets to create a national minerals inventory: A UK case study

Bide, T.; Brown, T.J.; Gunn, A.G.; Mankelow, J.M.. 2020 Utilisation of multiple current and legacy datasets to create a national minerals inventory: A UK case study. Resources Policy, 66, 101654.

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Mineral resources are vital for economic growth and maintaining quality of life. In order to maintain a steady, adequate, and sustainable supply of minerals it is important that appropriate policies exist at all levels of government. Sufficient information must be available to inform the land-use planning process and the development of minerals supply strategies. An important first stage for improving the security of supply of minerals is to identify the locations of a country’s mineral resources and estimate the quantities that may be present. Whilst the existence of resources does not mean that they will be extracted, knowing what minerals can be found within a jurisdiction can facilitate the development of strategies for their sustainable management, and to inform the negotiation of trade relationships. The study presented here, undertaken within the framework of a project funded by the European Union, attempted to produce a dataset for all non-energy mineral (i.e. excluding fossils fuel and uranium) resources and reserves in the UK. For the UK and many other countries there is no statutory requirement for the compilation of mineral resource or reserve data and consequently this information is either absent or contained within a range of disparate sources. This paper presents a methodology for collating available data in a consistent way and for filling data gaps. The results show that it is feasible, for relevant organisations such as national geological surveys, to compile new and relevant data for minerals by using a combination of disparate sources such as legacy data, modern industry data and spatial analysis. This methodology is also applicable to other nations with similar situations to the UK regarding minerals data. The resultant inventory shows the UK is relatively well endowed with a wide range of mineral resources and has large quantities of certain minerals. However, resources of some minerals, on which many industrial and manufacturing processes rely, are either absent or unrecorded, particularly many metals that are required for new technologies. This study also identifies the challenges involved in compiling national mineral resource and reserve totals. Most significant are the large uncertainties, the assumptions required and the variety of codes and standards that exist for reporting resources and reserves data. Nevertheless, a new dataset for the UK’s mineral resources and reserves is presented. This may encourage long-term quantitative systematic monitoring of resources and reserves at a national scale to provide a basis for the development of minerals policy, environmental protection policy and business strategy.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: UK, minerals, resources, reserves, data, statistics
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Data and Information
Date made live: 28 Apr 2020 13:59 +0 (UTC)

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