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UK Minerals Information Online

Effective planning for the sustainable development of the UK's mineral resources requires a wide range of up–to–date and impartial information. The web–based Geographical Information System (GIS), Minerals online GIS, provides access to a range of minerals–related information and allows it to be related to other forms of land–use. It can be used to identify areas where mineral extraction may conflict with other land–use and conservation interests. Minerals Information Online covers all the regions of England, the Central Belt of Scotland and, by 2010, Wales.

Aims and Limitations

The purpose of this GIS is to show:

  • Mineral resources, which may be of current or potential economic interest;
  • Selected nationally–recognised landscape and habitat designations;
  • Land where minerals are, or have been, licensed for extraction (mineral planning permissions).

The GIS brings together this wide range of information, much of which is otherwise scattered and not always available in a convenient form.

The mineral resource layers have been produced from mineral resource data principally held by the British Geological Survey (BGS). Information on the extent of mineral planning permissions has been obtained from the relevant Mineral Planning Authority (MPA). Some of these permissions may have lapsed or expired. The status of individual areas can be ascertained from the appropriate MPA. Data on coal licence areas and opencast coal worked areas has been obtained from the Coal Authority. Location information on national planning designations has been obtained from the appropriate statutory body. For further information the relevant body should be contacted.

The mineral resource data presented are based on the best available information, but are not comprehensive and their quality is variable. The inferred boundaries shown are approximate. Mineral resources defined on the map delineate areas within which potentially workable minerals may occur. These areas are not of uniform potential and take no account of planning constraints that may limit their working. The economic potential of specific sites can only be proved by a detailed evaluation programme. Such an investigation is an essential precursor to submitting a planning application for mineral working. Extensive areas are shown as having no mineral resource potential, but some isolated mineral workings may occur in these areas. The presence of these operations reflects specific, local situations.

This GIS is intended for general consideration of mineral issues and not as a source of detailed information on specific sites. It should not be used for individual planning applications or as a basis for decisions on the acquisition or use of a particular piece of land, although it may give useful background contextual information for specific proposals.

The mineral resources shown on the maps can be used by MPAs to identify ‘proven resources', as referred to in MPS1, for defining Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSAs). BGS is happy to provide advice to licensees regarding technical aspects of using our resource information for mineral safeguarding. However, questions regarding safeguarding policy in England should be referred to the Department for Communities and Local Government.