Saturday, 21 July 2012

No major revisions

We were pleased to hear from the Minerals Officer this week that, unlike in some previous years, Devon's sand and gravel reserves showed no major revisions by mineral operators last year, and were confirmed at 9.16 million tonnes (Mt) at 31 December 2011, down from 9.62Mt the previous year and reflecting the production figure of 0.44Mt for 2011. Indications are that 2012 will be lower still, with industry figures showing that nationally, for the first half of 2012, sales of sand and gravel are down 13% on the same period last year. The Mineral Products Association has also forecast "further declines in construction and mineral products markets in 2013". It is now difficult for DCC to continue to make the case, as it did in the February 2011 Mineral Core Strategy, that (4.3.12) "The anticipated economic recovery may see this decline [the decline that started in 1988] level off or, in the medium term, be replaced by increasing demand for aggregates."

The landbank in years, under DCC's current policy MP20, is therefore now 16.7 years, up from 15.5 years, on the basis of a reduced 5 year average of 0.55Mt. With level production, and no reserve revisions by mineral operators, the landbank in 2013 will be (8.26/0.46) 18.0 years, i.e. to the end of the new Minerals Plan in 2031.