There's 'treasure' under Kingsteignton's Clay Pits Road
WORK has started on creating a new road on the outskirts of Kingsteignton to unearth a massive haul of clay potentially worth millions of pounds.
Clay company Sibelco will realign the B3193, known locally as the Clay Pits Road, to access up to 24 million tonnes of premium ball clay which is currently buried under the existing road.
The road works would release around 3.5 million tonnes of consented premium grade plastic clays in the next 22 years.
That's only the tip of the ice berg, as it's estimated that there are 24 million tons of premium grade Ball Clay under the site.
UK trade figures for November 2012 show export of ball clay was worth over £77 per tonne. With a yield rate of 80 per cent the site could be worth around £1.5 billion.
Sibelco said it could not comment on the commercial value of the clay as prices fluctuate depending on quality and various factors.
The £10million road project — running from Abbrook to Rixey Park — will safeguard the future of South Devon's historic clay mining industry, which employs 180 people in the county.
The clay is found in only a few locations worldwide and is highly prized by the ceramics industry and is an essential ingredient in half of the world's bathroom ware.
Plans to realign the road were first given consent 35 years ago and were revised in 1992, but the project was put on hold because of environmental issues and concerns that the routes were too close to homes and an alternative route was sought.
The latest route was given the go ahead in November with numerous measures in place to protect the environment and wildlife.
Sibelco UK's director of resources, Gary Stringer, said: "The importance of this project cannot be overstated and had we not been granted permission I doubt whether this historic industry, which has supported generations of families, would have had a future worth talking about."
Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris said: "Developing a key industry such as this in uncertain economic times has to be a cause for celebration."
It is hoped the road will open by late 2014.