Monday, 16 May 2016


Anyone reading Aggregate Industries’ hurriedly rushed-out resource statement for the Minerals Plan Examination might be forgiven for wondering why so many references to PERC (Pan-European Reserves & Resources Reporting Committee) were needed to back up a simple estimate of sand and gravel buried under an East Devon Farm.

Was it an attempt at assurance, because so many of AI’s facts and figures have fallen down on scrutiny in the past? Was it to impress the Inspector?

Since this acronym has now been thrown into the ring, others might want to learn what PERC is all about:
PERC is the organisation responsible for setting standards for public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources, and mineral reserves by companies listed on markets in Europe.
LafargeHolcim, AI’s parent company, is indeed listed on markets in Europe. The PERC Reporting Standard "sets out minimum standards". As AI has made clear to us before, with regard to the public reporting of mineral resources:
the responsibility of Competent Persons towards the Public overrides all other specific responsibilities including responsibility to professional, sectional, or private interests or to other Competent Persons. p.52
The PERC Reporting Standard provides a checklist of factors that should be taken into account when estimating and reporting on mineral resources, factors such as:
Any potential impediments to mining such as land access, environmental or legal permitting. p.46
In other words, the sort of impediments that AI overlooked in its planning application for an optimistic and impossibly precise "saleable quantity of 1,659,780 tonnes of sand and gravel", the planning application that was later withdrawn because the company had no legal rights for access or soil storage over third party land.

And given that DCC, the permitting authority, has now - based on AI’s figures - revised the resource down to 900,000 tonnes in its draft Minerals Plan to reflect environmental factors, i.e. the "retention of a one metre unsaturated zone above the winter water table, as required in Table C.4 of the Plan", it’s not quite clear how AI can claim that "during resource calculation the principles of the PERC Standard 2013 were rigorously applied", whilst at the same time claiming that resources "currently amount to 1.2 million saleable tonnes".