Thursday, 2 March 2017

New charter ‘marks key moment for minerals industry’

Surely that’s worth a drum roll? Could this news be the harbinger of great things?

The minerals industry has written itself a new charter, a new vision, a new set of strategic priorities:
The Charter will be the vehicle for achieving the new vision by 'Driving Change, Raising Standards and Improving Perceptions'.
Apparently, it all marks "a key moment for the industry", according to the Mineral Products Association:
The development and publication of the new Charter by MPA members is a key moment for the industry. Now that MPA represents over 90% of the non-energy mineral extraction and mineral products sector, it has a unique opportunity to harmonise thinking and behaviours in a way which can improve industry performance in key areas whilst improving perceptions externally. Getting 'everyone on the same page' with a unified ambition for the future has been a key aim of the MPA Board for many years and was one of the primary drivers behind the creation of MPA. However, publication of the Charter is only the 'end of the beginning'. It is what happens over the next few years that will determine whether the sector can raise its game and becomes rightfully recognised and valued for the great and essential work that it does and is an industry that will attract the brightest and the best for the future.
It all sounds so promising. One of the seven Strategic Priorities is even on 'Climate Change and Energy'. 

Not only that; the MPA has had a vision - the "MPA Vision for 2025":
Member consultation has established that by 2025 the industry wishes 'to be valued as an essential and economically, socially and environmentally sustainable industry of significance to the economy and our way of life'
Which means that in 2017, the industry is fully aware that it's not viewed in that way; that it's not regarded as a socially and environmentally sustainable industry. Why would that be? Is it because it's not?

By 2025, Aggregate Industries - one of the biggest members of the MPA - would, if permission were to be granted, only be half way through destroying Straitgate Farm, half way through destroying kilometres of dormouse inhabited ancient hedgerows, half way through its 2.5 million mile Climate Change and Energy busting haulage plan to Uffculme.

If what happens over the next few years will determine whether the sector can raise its game, the UK aggregate giants will have to do better than submitting planning applications that put sand and gravel processing plants 23 miles away from the quarry face. Or are all these charters, visions, and strategic priorities just a whole lot of empty, meaningless words?