The UK identifies key critical minerals areas

The Llŷn Peninsula of North Wales was mined for many years for manganese. (Stock Image)

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has produced a report identifying areas of the UK prospective for critical raw materials.

The national-scale assessment is one of the first steps in the UK government’s critical minerals strategy, which aims to make the UK more resilient to disruption in critical mineral supply chains.

The UK has 18 metals and minerals on its critical raw minerals list, including battery metals like cobalt, manganese, nickel and graphite. Currently, these are almost exclusively obtained from mining and refining operations in other countries, although tungsten has been mined in the UK in recent years.

BGS has identified large parts of the country as prospective for critical minerals:

  • An area around Loch Maree near Gairloch, Scotland
  • Parts of the Central Highlands and Aberdeenshire, Scotland
  • Areas in mid-County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
  • Parts of Cumbria, England
  • Parts of the North Pennine orefield, England
  • North-west Wales
  • Pembrokeshire, Wales
  • South-west England
The darker areas are those that are prospective for several CRMs

“Mining in the UK has a long history and many of the prospective areas have been mined before. For example, the Llŷn Peninsula of North Wales was mined for many years for manganese, which was originally important for steel making. In the future, the manganese deposits could be important for battery production,” said Dr Kathryn Goodenough, co-author and BGS Principal Geologist.

Other countries like Canada, the US, Norway, Sweden and Finland are also mapping their own geological potential to reduce the risk of continuing to rely entirely on global supply chains for critical minerals.