Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Opposition at DE approval for mineral prospecting

Objectors to exploration mining in areas of south Armagh say they are stunned to learn that the Department of the Economy (DE) has sent letters to some residents informing them that a mineral prospecting licence has been issued to a mining company.

The licence has been issued to Conroy Gold, a Dublin-based mining company.

A spokesperson for some local people who fiercely object to the practice of mining, have criticized the approval of the prospecting licence and have raised concerns over the potential devastating impact on the environment in the Ring of Gullion.

Commenting on the development, the spokesperson told The Examiner: “When there was notice of the application for the licence in 2017, some few people did see it.  They lodged objections at the time and complained that the public consultation period was insufficient and not widely enough advertised.  No more was heard until some of those who took part in the consultation received a letter to say that, despite objections, the licence had been issued.

“The present licence is for prospecting only, for unspecified minerals.  No mining company however is going to spend money prospecting unless they can expect to mine if they find what they are looking for,” the spokesperson insists.

“Mining all over the world poses a threat to the local environment.  There are multiple examples in Ireland, England, Europe and the world of the destruction caused by mining.  The communities where this takes place rarely get any benefit.  The promise of jobs is never worth the wholescale destruction of the environment which ensues.  

Parts of the historic Ring of Gullion – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and of Special Scientific Interest (SSI) – are earmarked for exploration mining.

“The protection of our water, air quality, rivers, lakes and the natural beauty of the area is much more important to the local people.  The health of the children must be a far greater concern.  Communities all over Ireland have been getting organised to oppose the mining companies, many of them Canadian, that our country has been sold to,” the spokesperson said, adding that already 25% of the six counties in the north “has been allocated for mining, fracking, or oil exploration”.

Public meeting

A public meeting has been arranged to inform local people of the prospecting licence specifics.  It will be held on Wednesday 11th September at 8 p.m. in Silverbridge Football Club where invited speakers from ‘Save our Sperrins’ campaign and Friends of the Earth, as well as local speakers, will be in attendance.