BGS news

Mineral investigation reports released online

Reports from over 260 mineral exploration projects are now freely available on BGS’s GeoIndex.

07/07/2023 By BGS Press
The Great Opencast at Parys Mountain mine. BGS © UKRI.

The Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre (CMIC) has completed scanning a subset of the Mineral Exploration and Investigation Grants Act (MEIGA) reports that are held at BGS. These reports represent the records of 267 mineral exploration projects carried out in the UK between 1971 and 1984 (NERC, 2023). The first batch of scanned reports is now available to access on the CMIC website.

MEIGA was funded under the former Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through grants for mineral exploration of non-ferrous metals, fluorspar, barium and potash. This scheme resulted in significant new discoveries and developments, including the Gairloch copper–zinc–gold deposit, the Parys Mountain copper–lead–zinc deposit and the Hemerdon tungsten–tin deposit (Minerals UK, 2023).

CMIC is delivering the MEIGA reports in a geographically searchable, online and free-to-access format. The release of these reports will aid those assessing the UK’s prospectivity for critical minerals. They complement the report on the ‘Potential for critical raw material prospectivity in the UK’ produced by CMIC and BGS (Deady et al., 2023).

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Although these have been available in hardcopy on demand, in view of the new UK Critical Raw Materials Strategy we thought it was timely to scan and release the data now. It provides an excellent opportunity to reassess previously collected data at no cost to the user.

Eimear Deady, BGS Economic Geologist.

The MEIGA reports contain:

  • geological mapping
  • soil and stream sediment geochemistry data
  • geophysical surveys
  • drill core logs
  • assay data

The geological material collected in the 1970s and 1980s is available for viewing at BGS through the core store booking process and available online on the GeoIndex, where anyone can explore the MEIGA areas.

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Geophysical survey map of Forest of Deer area, Aberdeenshire. BGS © UKRI.

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CMIC works closely with the Department of Business and Trade, which funds CMIC, and this data supports the Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy by providing accessible historical information to companies wishing to explore the UK’s critical mineral potential (BEIS, 2022). Accordingly, this release plays an essential role in supporting a more secure energy transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The geographical distribution of the MEIGA areas and associated reports can be viewed on the BGS GeoIndex, which holds a wealth of additional information from historical exploration campaigns conducted by BGS and industry. This includes borehole records, earthquake data and interactive 3D maps.

BEIS. 2022. Resilience for the Future: The UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Deady, E, Goodenough, K M, Currie, D, Lacinska, A, Grant, H, Patton, M, Cooper, M, Josso, P, Shaw R A, Everett P, and Bide T. 2023. Potential for critical raw material prospectivity in the UK. British Geological Survey Commissioned Report CR/23/024. (Nottingham, UK: British Geological Survey.)

Lusty, P A J, Shaw, R A, Gunn, A G, and Idoine, N E. 2021. UK criticality assessment of technology critical minerals and metals. British Geological Survey Commissioned Report CR/21/120. (Nottingham, UK: British Geological Survey.)

Minerals UK. 2023. History of exploration in the UK [online]. Accessed on 7 July 2023.

NERC 2023. Records of mineral exploration [online]. Accessed on 7 July 2023.

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