Detailed Minerals Resource Assessment – Home Counties

Summary

Omnia were commissioned to undertake a detailed Mineral Resource Assessment at the site, as it was considered given the large size of the development area (16 ha) and the locality within a Mineral Safeguarding Area for Sand and Gravel, that the area may be deemed economically viable for extractions.

Scope of Works

Works to produce the detailed MRA included:

  • Review of online BGS Mapping to assess the geological setting of the site, including review of historical boreholes in the area;
  • Assess volume of extractible mineral present beneath the site;
  • Liaise with representatives of commercial aggregate operators to establish whether or not the site is considered economically viable;
  • Due consideration given to the neighbouring high sensitivity water body and associated pollution control measures;
  • Review of previous ground investigations completed on the site;
  • Additional Ground Investigation to obtain samples from the underlying mineral resource to assess grading quality of the resource.

The standalone Minerals Resource Assessment was reported and included:

  • Assessment of mineral resource present beneath the site;
  • Assessment of workable area taking into account required standoffs from buildings, infrastructure and trees;
  • Assessment of the volume of workable mineral resource present beneath the site;
  • Consultation with local commercial aggregate companies regarding whether the resource beneath the site is of economic interest;
  • Discussion on potential pollution control measures and impact on extraction potential;
  • An assessment of whether the pre-construction working of the site would prevent or render unviable the implementation of the development within the timescales of the Local Plan.

Outcome

Once complete, Omnia were able to conclude that one area of the site (totalling an area of approximately 4.6 ha, rather than the whole 16 ha) was considered potentially viable for extraction.

Two out of three aggregate operators expressed a potential interest in the mineral reserves beneath the site, however as the site lies within a sensitive area, concerns regarding the controlled waters receptors (relatively shallow groundwater across site, location of a river along one boundary, the Chalk Aquifer beneath the sand and gravel, and the location within an SPZ2) and the requirement for an Environmental Permit to facilitate restoration to form a development platform. This was along concerns relating to the likely requirement for the installation of a geological barrier prior to infilling in order to protect controlled waters receptors.

Given the above aspects and limitations Omnia concluded the use of incidental mineral extraction during the course of the development is likely to be the most feasible.

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Olivia Maxwell

Principal Geo-Environmental Consultant

Olivia