This is an archived press release
Wednesday 15 October 2014
One of the UK's last remaining fluorspar mines has been given planning permission to carry on working until 2028.
Milldam Mine, close to Great Hucklow in Derbyshire, had been relatively unworked for more than a decade until new owners, British Fluorspar Limited (BFL), started underground production again in 2012 with six employees.
Now the Peak District National Park Authority has approved the proposal to increase production of the important industrial mineral over the next 15 years at the mine, which currently employs 27 workers.
The Milldam Mine permission covers more than 2,000 hectares, stretching east to Grindleford and south towards Stoney Middleton. However, the work is restricted to the Hucklow vein, near the mine compound at Great Hucklow. BFL has obtained permission to increase the number of lorry movements, increasing the output from the previous limit of 60,000 tonnes a year to 150,000 tonnes. It has been estimated that the vein contains around 2.4 million tonnes of fluorspar ore.
After being mined at Milldam, the ore is transported to BFL's Cavendish Mill at Stoney Middleton, the UK's only facility for producing acid grade fluorspar for the chemical industry.
The renewal of consent to continue underground mining includes restrictions on when blasting and other work can take place, along with conditions covering the timing and number of lorry movements to and from the site.
A letter of support was received from Friends of the Peak District, who have previously called for a shift from open cast to underground operations for extracting fluorspar ore in the National Park.
Despite four objections on the grounds of noise, blasting and increased HGV traffic in the area, members of the Authority's planning committee felt that the mine had operated for a considerable period of time without serious impact on the local community.
Paul Ancell, chair of the planning committee, said: "Milldam Mine is one of the very few sites nationally where fluorspar ore can be found and it is also important that we are supporting local jobs and the local economy.
"The extraction work takes place underground, so this has significantly less impact on the landscape compared to open cast extraction, and we felt that the conditions attached will ensure impact is minimised in the future.''