The proposed small barite mine at Duntanlich is situated over 7km north of Aberfeldy and could directly create around 30 skilled jobs.
It is a world class barite resource and could ensure that the UK is entirely self-sufficient in this essential mineral. Duntanlich is a replacement for the current M-I SWACO mine at Foss and could produce around 120,000 tonnes of barite per annum.
A third of the UK demand for barite currently comes from Foss and the rest is mainly sourced from Morocco. However Foss, which has been operation since 1985, is a small mine with a complex geology. As it gets deeper this useful mineral is becoming harder and less economical to obtain.
In comparison Duntanlich boasts a barite resource in excess of 7.5 million tonnes and is unique in the UK as being the only significant barite orebody that is economic to operate.
The Duntanlich resource is recognised as being “world class with considerable economic importance and geological significance.”1
In addition it has been identified as “one of the world’s largest drill-defined but un-exploited bedded barytes deposits.”2
While still recognised as a small mine Duntanlich could produce around 120,000 tonnes of barite per annum (around three times the average output of Foss) from an underground operation with a surface footprint of under 1 hectare, less than a quarter that of Foss. The Foss mine will be decommissioned and the mine area restored.
Duntanlich could supply the total UK requirement of barite for more than 50 years at planned production rates, providing an indigenous and secure long-term source of this essential mineral for the economically important offshore oil and gas industry.
Concerns over a critical dependency by the UK on foreign sources, increased transport costs and a desire to reduce the carbon footprint of the mineral justifies the investment required for the delivery of the mine.
- Perth & Kinross Council, Towards a Sustainable Future, Perth and Kinross Structure Plan – report of survey, June 2003, p. 31.