Department of Mineral Resources

Common Minerals

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) regulates and provides guidance to allow for the prospecting, exploring and extraction of stone, sand, gravel, chalk, flint and Clacified Seaweed on the island.

Calcified Seaweed (Maerl)

Fragments of white, limy material from marine red algae are scattered along the Falkland Islands foreshore areas, creating substantial beach deposits. These deposits have the potential to be a source of agricultural lime since there is no other source of limestone on the island. Similar material has been used for agricultural and horticultural purposes in other parts of the world, such as in the English Channel where it is referred to as Lithothamion or maerl. In the Falkland Islands, the material is called calcified seaweed.


XRD analysis indicates that the calcified seaweed is principally composed of calcite  with minor aragonite and quartz  with high-Mg species containing c.11% MgCO3 typical of red algae.