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 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 mineral over the next 15 years at the mine, which currently employs 27 workers.
Paul Ancell, chairman 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.’’
The Milldam Mine permission covers more than 2,000 hectares, stretching east to Grindleford and south towards Stoney Middleton.
BFL also has permission to increase the number of lorry movements from 60,000 tonnes a year to 150,000 tonnes. The Hucklow vein is estimated to contain around 2.4 million tonnes of fluorspar ore, which is used to make acid grade fluorspar for the chemical industry.
The the planning permission was granted with restrictions to when blasting and other work can take place, along with conditions covering the timing and number of lorry movements.
Despite four objections on the grounds of noise, blasting and increased HGV traffic, members of the planning committee felt the mine had operated for a considerable time without serious impact on the community.