Proposal for barite mine near Aberfeldy set to go on public display

Proposals to develop the world class barite resource at Duntanlich, north of Aberfeldy, are set to go on public display at the following venues and times:

  • Mid Atholl Hall, Ballinluig PH9 0LG, Tuesday 17th February, 12 noon – 8.30pm
  • Town Hall, Crieff Road, Aberfeldy PH15 2BJ, Thursday 19th February, 12 noon – 8.30pm
  • New Fishers Hotel, 75 Atholl Road, Pitlochry PH16 5BN, Wednesday 25th February, 1pm – 8.30pm

Undertaken by oilfield services company, M-I SWACO, the proposed mine is a replacement for the company’s mine at Foss, which has operated since 1985.

Exhibition boards will highlight the proposed development and experts will be on hand to answer any queries from members of the public.

The Duntanlich orebody is unique in the UK. It is the only known significant barite deposit that is economic to work and will  enable the UK to become self-sufficient in a mineral vitally important to the North Sea oil and gas industry, ensuring security of supply.

Barite is largely used as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration and there is no substitute with all the essential properties of this mineral. It is also used as a value-added application in the automobile and medical industries.

The Foss barite deposit has a complex geological structure making it difficult to mine. With increasing depth this mineral is getting harder and more expensive to obtain. In comparison, a mine at Duntanlich, boasting a resource in excess of 7.5 million tonnes of barite, could supply the whole of the UK’s requirements for more than 50 years at planned production rates.

The Duntanlich development could provide skilled employment for around 30 people, mainly drawn from the local area, where employment is largely reliant on tourism and forestry. There could also be indirect employment opportunities for local suppliers and contractors.

M-I SWACO is intending to submit a planning application for the mine in spring 2015 following extensive consultation with local communities. If the proposals are approved by Perth and Kinross Council production could begin towards the end of 2017.

Further information can be found on the website– www.duntanlich.com.

Ian Hughes, Project Manager for M-I SWACO said:

“We are delighted to be able to put our proposals on display and give the local community the opportunity to view these. This is a project which will have a significant positive local economic impact, diversifying the economy of this rural area where employment is reliant on tourism and forestry.

“These events form part of our extensive community engagement programme and we look forward to meeting with members of the public at the event, informing them what is happening and answering any queries they may have.”

-ENDS-

For further information please contact:

Alex Orr at Orbit Communications on 0131 603 8996, alex.orr@orbit-comms.co.uk

Nuala McClenaghan – M-I SWACO Communications, 01224 766255, NMcclenaghan@slb.com

Notes to Editors

About M-I SWACO

M-I SWACO is the leading supplier of drilling fluid systems, engineered to improve drilling performance, and as such is a vital part of the world’s hydrocarbon exploration and production industry.

The company employs 13,000 people in more than 80 countries and in 2010 became part of Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company.