Plans to reopen Dean Quarry near St Keverne could be permanently derailed if Cornwall Council uses its powers to order the permanent closure of the site, according to a recent letter to a local Cornwall councillor.

A letter sent to Walter Sanger, the councillor for St Keverne and Meneage, read out at a meeting of St Keverne Parish Council, said Cornwall Council could prohibit any resumption of mineral working at the site by as early as October 8.

This is because, if the quarry's current owner Shire Oak Quarries has not carried out any mining or quarrying at the site by that time, the council may decide there has been a "permanent cessation of mining operations," revoking their mineral planning rights.

The quarry, which is subject to a Review of Old Mineral Permissions (ROMPs) every 15 years, has not been worked since permission was last granted in 2009, and every year the council has to carry out an inspection to check the quarry remains compliant to its conditions.

In the letter Ellis Crompton-Brown, Cornwall Council's senior development officer, informed Mr Sanger that a condition of the agreement requires "in the event of a cessation of mining operations prior to the completion of the approved restoration scheme... a revised restoration scheme... shall be submitted within six months."

In effect, Shire Oak may have to pay to restore the quarry without having ever worked it.

In October 2012, then owners Cemex requested a postponement of a condition requiring the restoration of the site to its original site, and since then a postponement has been granted every year.

In another letter from Mr Crompton Brown, to Liz Marsden of Shire Oak Energy, in September 2015, Mr Crompton-Brown said the council reserves the right to review its position position in October "and a further deferment is not anticipated to be acceptable."

However, in the letter to Mr Sanger, Mr Crompton-Brown stressed that the council is not obliged to close the quarry, but simply has "discretionary power to do so."

He added: "It may be the case that the quarry owners simply resume winning and working of minerals before this date and therefore a 'permanent cessation' is unlikely to have taken place."

Mr Sanger told the Packet if Shire Oak applied for an extension "I would imagine they would probably get it.

He added: "But I don't feel it would be of any benefit to our area at all."

Shire Oak Quarries has previously said it intends to submit a new planning application after a previous permission was quashed by the High Court earlier this year.

A company spokesperson said: “We are aware of the scope of the permission for Dean Quarry and intend to comply with it."

A spokesperson for action group Cornwall Against Dean Superquarry (CADS), said: "(CADS) continue to monitor all developments connected to Dean Quarry including Cornwall Council's obligation to ensure there are no potential breaches of ROMPS planning conditions."