Wednesday, 15 July 2015

And now, what about all that "workable overburden"?

We’ve established that the '1.2 million tonnes' is not 1.2 million at all, but what of the '460,000 tonnes' of saleable resource that Aggregate Industries claims can be rescued from the overburden?
There is anticipated to be further saleable mineral in the overburden ("workable over-burden") which would increase the total potential reserve to almost 1.66 million tonnes 3.8
AI seems very sure of this anticipated resource - not 400k, not 500k, but 460k. Let’s put that number into context: 460k saleable would equate to about 575k gross, or about 1.18 metres of the average 2.28 metres of soil and overburden measured across the site.

Contrast this with what AI’s Head of Geological Services told us two years ago, for the larger area being proposed at that time:
At Venn Ottery we have found it possible to drip-feed some of the more sandy lower parts of the overburden into the gravels to more sustainably work the deposit. It may be possible to do something similar at Straitgate but this can only be quantified on a month by month basis in a working scenario as it can depend as much on the weather as the skill of the excavator driver whether blending is possible. It is therefore not a tonnage I can quote in a formal Competent Person Report, however I would anticipate nominal tonnages and if pushed to guess would say approx, 200,000 saleable tonnes... [our emphases]
AI’s application is playing fast and loose with the numbers. The planning authority, statutory consultees and local people all have a right to be told exactly what’s being proposed, particularly if the available resource - the resource that if extracted would result in so much harm - could depend on the weather.