, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 259–270 | Cite as

Geoconservation, Quarrying and Mining: Opportunities and Challenges Illustrated Through Working in Partnership with the Mineral Extraction Industry in England

  • Colin D. Prosser
Original Article


Quarrying and mining have played a fundamental role in the development of society over the last 2 million years. In addition, it generates information and specimens that support the advancement of geoscience and creates exposures that provide a resource for scientific study, education, training and geotourism; a resource that would not otherwise exist. Unsurprisingly, features exposed as a result of current and past quarrying and mining feature heavily within geoconservation inventories of many countries. Mineral extraction can, in some circumstances, damage and destroy elements of geoheritage, especially where it coincides with finite features such as caves or karst, which are irreplaceable if lost. However, the many opportunities for geoconservation that arise from mineral extraction, including creation of new exposure, richer and larger site inventories and protected site series, opportunities to rescue and record material in operating quarries and mines, increased levels of research, education and geotourism and access to funding, largely outweigh the potential threats. Partnership between the mineral extraction industry and geoconservationists is required to realise the opportunities for geoconservation. Experience of partnership working in England at industry, company and site-based level is used to explore how best to deliver geoconservation in quarries and mines at the planning, operating and restoration stages of mineral extraction. Partnership between geoconservationists and the mineral extraction industry, whether it is to seek to avoid impacts on geoheritage or to realise the many opportunities it presents, is deemed essential to the future of geoconservation.


Geoconservation Quarrying and mining Mineral extraction Restoration 



I am indebted to Martin Layer (Planning and Estates Manager, Smiths Bletchington) and Eddie Bailey (Head of Geology and Land Survey, Aggregate Industries) for commenting on and undoubtedly helping to improve this manuscript. Rob Palmer (Regional Geological Manager, Tarmac) helped to scope the presentation given at the 8th International ProGEO Symposium in Reykjavik, Iceland, on which this paper is based, and Dave Evans (Natural England) drafted Figs. 12 and 13. My thanks too go to the two anonymous reviewers and to Lovisa Asbjornsdottir and Kevin Page for editorial help.


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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural EnglandPeterboroughUK

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