£190M quarry economy boost?

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Re-opening Dean Quarry on the Lizard Peninsula could generate between £140 million and £190 million for the Cornish economy, according to an economic impact report published today (July 6).

Shire Oak Quarries is hoping to re-open Dean Quarry and commissioned the study to look at how the potential spending and employment involved could impact on the Cornish economy.

Although the commercial and operational plans for the site are still being established, the report provides a snap-shot of the potential economic opportunity it offers.

The report was prepared by consultant economist Kevin Butler, former regional agent for the south west at the Bank of England, who now works for south west chartered accountant. Milsted Langdon.

The study concludes that there could be a net positive impact from the quarry’s operations of up to £190 million over the next 20 years, assuming an inflation rate of around 2%, or £160 million in today’s money values.

“Dean Quarry is an important economic asset for Cornwall and has the potential to bring substantial economic benefits”

This includes an annual labour bill of £3 million, and £5 million spent every year on goods and services, with a commitment to source as locally as possible.

The quarry could create up to 50 year-round direct and contractor jobs, including skilled and managerial positions, and create or safeguard a further 100 in the local economy. It could also generate an estimated £50 million for the Exchequer through the Aggregates Levy.

Butler said: “Dean Quarry is an important economic asset for Cornwall and has the potential to bring substantial economic benefits to the immediate locality and to the wider region.

“It would create new, well paid, non-seasonal jobs and the intention is that the majority of its operating budget would be spent locally, ideally within a 25-mile radius of the quarry. This would create a net positive impact valued at millions of pounds a year.”

Kurt Larson, managing director of Shire Oak Quarries, added: “Extractive industries remain a major part of Cornwall’s economy and Dean Quarry was worked for around 100 years before it was mothballed in 2008. This report shows the potential for the quarry to continue to make an important contribution to local employment and the economy.

“We are working on proposals to re-start operations and will continue to keep local people informed as our plans evolve. They will of course have every opportunity to comment on our proposals once they are finalised.”

Shire Oak Quarries is hoping to become a supplier of rock armour to a proposed tidal lagoon renewable energy project in Swansea Bay because the dense gabbro rock found at Dean Quarry is ideal for tidal defences.

Any decision to use Dean Quarry as a supplier rests with CHEC (China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd), which has been commissioned to build the £300 million tidal lagoon wall and is responsible for sourcing and transporting the rock required.