Critical metal resources in Scotland

Pewter

BGS geologists presented their latest research on critical metals at the Geores 2011 Scottish Minerals meeting at Murchison House, in Edinburgh on Tuesday 15 November.

The EU and the UK are heavily dependent on imports of many metals. Some of these, which are economically important and yet potentially vulnerable to supply disruption, are termed 'critical metals'. These include the rare earth elements, the platinum group metals, cobalt and tungsten all of which are being used in increasing amounts globally. They are particularly important in a range of emerging technologies, such as clean energy where they are used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and photovoltaics.

There are no economic deposits of critical metals known in Scotland at present. However, there are indications in several areas that resources of some of these metals might exist. For example, high concentrations of rare earths have been identified in rock samples near Tongue in Sutherland and of platinum-group metals in Shetland and Aberdeenshire.

BGS Principal Economic Geologist, Gus Gunn, said: 'BGS is currently undertaking research to understand the processes responsible for the rare earth enrichments in Sutherland, although considerable further work would be required to identify any economic deposits of critical metals in Scotland.'

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Published

15 November 2011