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02 Nov 2022

Economic importance of UK minerals overlooked say MPA and CBI Minerals Group

UK_Minerals_Strategy_2022.jpgThe economic importance of UK-sourced essential minerals is the focus of a new strategy document launched by the CBI Minerals Group and the Mineral Products Association (MPA).

Minerals and mineral products represent the largest flow of materials in the economy – around 1 million tonnes every day – and they form the foundation for construction, manufacturing and the infrastructure needed for a greener economy.

But UK producers say the need for minerals is poorly understood by Government and the availability and supply of indigenous mineral resources is often taken for granted – a situation that could lead to shortages and over-reliance on imports.

The first UK Minerals Strategy was published in 2018, to help the UK’s demand for minerals to be met sustainably for the next generation.  The new second edition of the Strategy addresses key issues that have emerged and evolved over the last five years including:

  • Climate change: Net zero carbon, climate change mitigation, adaptation & resilience, implications for and contribution from minerals;
  • Nature recovery: Biodiversity gain, and contribution of minerals development, including the legacy provided by restored sites;
  • Essentiality: Stressing that while some minerals are considered critical, all are essential and may become critical should supply be compromised;
  • Replenishment: Continued under-replenishment of mineral reserves, production capacity and looming arbitrary end-dates on many reserves.

Future demand for minerals over the next 25 years has been revised upwards to around 8 billion tonnes of mainly construction and industrial minerals to be sourced primarily from indigenous resources, all of which will require delivery through private investment, supported by effective and efficient planning, and permitting.

The CBI Minerals Group and MPA are calling on the new Government to produce a national ‘statement of need’ for minerals, and to deliver on the the main objectives of the UK Minerals Strategy:

  • To recognise that minerals and mineral products, and the industry that supplies them, are essential to the economy, our quality of life and the transition to net zero;
  • To recognise that supply cannot be assumed – it needs to be planned, monitored and managed;
  • To ensure steady and adequate provision and supply, primarily through the land use planning system;
  • To establish supportive policy, plus operating and trading conditions to enable UK industry to thrive and invest in future supply; and
  • To recognise the proven legacy of restored mineral extraction sites in delivering environmental, social and economic benefits to society.

David Payne, secretary of the CBI Minerals Group and Senior Planning Advisor at the MPA said:

“The importance of secure and resilient supply chains has become a major strategic issue for many sectors of the UK economy, not least for energy and critical minerals. While minerals supplied from indigenous sources, such as those used in construction, may appear secure, continuity of supply cannot be guaranteed without new planning permissions to replace exhausted mineral reserves. It is vitally important that Government and devolved administrations understand this, and that future requirements for, and supply of, minerals are kept under review.

Outlining how the new UK Minerals Strategy should be taken forward, he said:

“This new strategy needs to be regarded as a material consideration in the development and implementation of economic and planning policy, and used as a framework for the development and implementation of other material and product- specific strategies and actions.”



The CBI Minerals Group comprises members of the CBI from minerals companies, trade associations, and specialist consultants and legal advisors. Collectively it represents around 99% of the UK minerals and mineral products industry.

Minerals extracted and produced in the UK include limestone, granite sandstone, sand and gravel, slate, shale, clays, gypsum, silica sand, salt and potash, Fullers earth, barytes, fluorspar, talc, calcspar, chert, flint, feldspar and coal among others.

The second edition of the UK Minerals Strategy can be downloaded here:

About the Mineral Products Association:

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. With the merger of British Precast, and affiliation of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), the British Calcium Carbonate Federation, the Cement Admixtures Assocation (CAA), CONSTRUCT, Eurobitume, MPA Northern Ireland, MPA Scotland and the UK Quality Ash Association (UKQAA), it has a growing membership of 520 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME quarrying companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of UK cement and lime production, 90% of GB aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and over 70% of ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete production. In 2018, the industry supplied £16 billion worth of materials and services to the Economy. It is also the largest supplier to the construction industry, which had annual output valued at £172 billion in 2018. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors.

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