Despite the move to more renewable resources, there are over 2000 active mines and quarries in the UK producing a wide range of minerals including construction aggregates, building stone, coal and industrial minerals. Whilst there is a demand for products such as metals, coal, oil shale, gemstones, limestone, chalk, dimension stone, rock salt, potash, gravel, and clay. Mining is required to obtain any material that cannot be grown through agricultural processes or created artificially in a laboratory or factory.
Examples of problems to be solved through R&D within these sectors
- How to reduce the environmental impact of mining and extraction
- How to maintain a sustainable business model which provides employment whilst mining a limited resource
- How to renew technology in line with other industries to ensure that efficiency is maintained
- How to discover new seams of resources in innovative ways which do not impact on the environment
- How to reduce the mining waste traditionally produced by extracting minerals from the earth
Examples of what constitutes R&D in these sectors?
The HMRC test as to whether a Company is performing R&D is whether there is ‘appreciable improvement’ in a situation as a result of ‘addressing a scientific and technological uncertainty’.
Within this sector, the majority of R&D will be developing new technology to reduce the impact of mining on the environment and to prolong the lifetime of the process.
- Replicating existing machinery with newer and more efficient models
- Developing a machine that can undertake processes previously done by employees
- The use of robotics in measuring and monitoring mines
- Using technology to clean up the traditional mining waste
- Innovating technology or methods which make the extraction of the material more efficient and effective