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Mineral resources of East Dorset

By C.R. Bristow, D.E. Highley, C.M. Barton, J.F. Cowley, E.C. Freshney and N.R. Webb

Abstract

The Wareham Basin of East Dorset contains internationally\ud important but scarce deposits of ball clay - a clay used in\ud the manufacture of high quality ceramics – together with\ud regionally important sand and gravel resources. Elsewhere\ud in the UK, ball clay is confined to only two small areas in\ud Devon. The Wareham Basin is also subject to very\ud extensive landscape, and international and national nature\ud conservation designations. These include the Dorset Area\ud of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and numerous Special\ud Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas\ud designated in accordance with European Directives. The\ud constraints on mineral extraction are, therefore, very severe\ud and it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify\ud acceptable sites for future mineral working.The Department\ud for Transport, Local Government and the Regions wished\ud to examine mineral resource and policy issues in the area in\ud order to identify the best means of approaching this\ud problem. The British Geological Survey was\ud commissioned, in association with the Centre for Ecology\ud and Hydrology, Mineral & Resource Planning Associates\ud and Dr E C Freshney, to undertake a detailed study of the\ud inter-relationships of the mineral, land-use and\ud environmental resources of the Wareham Basin and to\ud make recommendations for the future. The research\ud included detailed geological mapping, a small borehole\ud programme, together with associated sampling and\ud analytical work, the creation of a large borehole database\ud and the collation of a large amount of data on the\ud environmental constraints. To facilitate the interaction and\ud interpretation of the large amounts of spatially related data\ud collected a Geographical Information System (GIS) has\ud been designed and incorporates the main elements of the\ud data to facilitate their rapid analysis.\ud The results of the research are presented in this\ud Technical Report, which provides a full account of the\ud background to the study, the methods of investigation and\ud results, together with the potential for heathland restoration.\ud A Summary Report entitled Sustainable development issues\ud for mineral extraction in the Wareham Basin of East Dorset\ud (Highley et al., 2002) sets out recommendations in relation\ud to resource management issues, the planning process and\ud sustainable development considerations. It is intended that\ud the reports and their associated maps and databases, will\ud deliver information that will assist sustainable resource\ud management, planning and policy development in the\ud Wareham Basin.\ud The study recommends:\ud • that Government should take a view on the national\ud importance of ball clay;\ud • the results of the study should be used for the\ud identification of the extent of commercial ball clay\ud deposits in the area, and the location of these in relation\ud to landscape and nature conservation designations;\ud • the Geographical Information System and associated\ud database developed should be maintained to provide a\ud framework for planning, and specifically mineral\ud planning, in the area;\ud • that the options for the supply of ball clay, including\ud alternative sources and materials, should be monitored\ud and reviewed;\ud • that research on the restoration of mineral workings,\ud especially the re-creation of natural habitats in isolation\ud and as part of an integrated resource and rehabilitation\ud programme, should be promoted by the planning\ud process; and\ud • that consideration of whether the current approach to\ud safeguarding ball clay resources is adequate.\ud The databases and maps, which underpin the\ud conclusions set out in this Technical Report and the\ud associated Summary Report are available from the British\ud Geological Survey, Keyworth, NG12 5GG

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: British Geological Survey
Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:10759

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