Ireland: A protest over plans for a new open cast mine in Magheracloone

A protest over plans for a new open cast mine in Magheracloone, Co Monaghan, took place today.

The area was affected by a sinkhole over three years ago.

Residents at the protest today said they are worried about the levels of dust, noise, fumes, heavy construction vehicles and regular explosions that will affect people living and working in the area.

“We want clean air, we want to be able to send our children to the school without worrying if the wind is blowing in the right direction,” said Breda McGuigan.

“We are looking for something like the EPA have around the country to monitor air quality with real time monitoring and alarm systems available to everyone,” she added.

“If the mining proceeds then strict borders must be established and monitored to prevent landslides that threaten our homes,” said Geraldine Ward, another local resident.

Members of the anti-mining group Communities Against the Injustice of Mining (CAIM), attended the protest. They said they wanted to show solidarity with the local residents.

Mining company Gyproc has lodged plans to expand its operations in Magheracloone.

Two separate applications have been submitted to Monaghan County Council.

One seeks a major expansion of its open cast mining operations at the site, while the second plans for the replacement of the community centre.

The expansion of the GAA facilities is included in the planning application for the new open cast mine.

The Magheracloone Mitchells GAA club and local community centre were condemned and subsequently demolished after the sinkhole emerged in 2018.

A report into the incident found that operations involving the transport and storage of water in an old part of a mine had led to the collapse of several mining pillars, which probably led to the sinkhole.

The company had committed to replacing the facilities lost during the collapse of the underground mine in September 2018.

It was given approval just over a year ago for a new playing pitch and associated works including dressing rooms, toilets and a parking area. Work is under way on the project.

The company wants to expand the development further and has submitted plans to develop two more pitches, one an all-weather pitch and one with a running track.

A new building to house a meeting room, handball alley, changing room, toilets and sports hall are included in the plans.

A separate application to replace the lost community centre has also been made to Monaghan County Council.

Decisions on both planning applications are expected by mid to late March.

Mining has been taking place in the area since 1958. Gypsum extracted is used in the production of plasterboard.

In a statement to RTÉ News, Gyproc said it is committed to engaging in open dialogue with the community regarding its ongoing planning permission process.

It said it held a community information event last September that gave residents the opportunity to view the proposed plans and raise any questions or concerns they may have.

The company said the mining element of the planning permission is for continued regular mining activity, which is currently ongoing in the area and has been for the past 80 years.

It said careful consideration has been given to all environmental and societal aspects of the area when making this submission.

The company said that should the application be approved to extend current mining activity, water quality, air quality, vibration and noise will be controlled using best practice to ensure compliance with all statutory limits under the oversight of the relevant governing authorities and comprehensive monitoring by Gyproc.

The company said it was encouraging any member of the public who has queries about this to contact them.

In a statement to RTÉ News, the Magheracloone Community Centre Committee said “it believes the proposed new facility can be a focal point for the people of the area for social and sporting activities”.

The committee said it is “excited by the huge potential the development brings”.

It added that “having held a community vote and unveiled the plans for the facility in September, there is a strong desire to see the development proceed and bring much needed sorely missed amenities to this rural community”.

Magheracloone Mitchells said the club is looking forward to the development of the new proposed sports and recreation facilities, “which will be a huge lift to the entire community”, RTE writes.

Environmental campaigners resist mining for base metals

Campaigners say the area is home to rich biodiversity and natural landscape, and is not appropriate for the type of mining that any prospecting may unveil

Environmental campaigners have said they will vigorously resist any attempts to begin mining in east Clare, after the Department of the Environment approved a licence for a company to explore the possibility.

The department said that Environment Minister Eamon Ryan intended to grant a prospecting licence to Navan, Co Meath-based Minco Ireland for base metals, barytes, as well as gold and silver ore around Tulla in Clare.

The prospecting licence allows for the exploration of mineral deposits, but does not authorise actual mining of any minerals.

The notice from the department said that environmental impacts in terms of a prospecting licence were, “in general”, non-invasive.

“The minister has assessed the exploration programme proposed by the company, and has determined that the activities are not likely to have a significant effect on the environment,” the notice stated.

There are two underground mines operating in Ireland. Tara in Co Meath produces zinc concentrate, while Drummond in Co Monaghan produces gypsum.

Mines at Galmoy in Co Kilkenny and Lisheen in Co Tipperary, which both produced zinc and lead, were closed in the past decade.

Environmental group Futureproof Clare reacted angrily to the announcement of the prospecting licence for Co Clare by the department, saying it was done by stealth and with no consultation locally.

Campaigners say the area is home to rich biodiversity and natural landscape, and is not appropriate for the type of mining that any prospecting may unveil.

A petition from the group demanding the licence be refused has garnered 1,500 signatures.

It claimed that in Europe, mining is increasingly affecting Natura 2000 and wetlands of international importance, known as Ramsar sites, set aside for conserving nature.

The petition stated: “81% of habitats, and 63% of the species that these laws were designed to protect, still have an ‘unfavourable’ conservation status, according to the European Environment Agency.

“Goldmining is one of the most destructive industries in the world. It can displace communities, contaminate drinking water, destroy the landscape, has a negative impact on small-scale farming and fishing, and eco-tourism, while also being a threat to existing employment in the area.”

According to the department’s own policy information, “there is significant potential across Ireland for industrial minerals”.

In recent years, gypsum, dolomite, silica sand, brick shale, and fireclay have all been mined, it stated.

“The development of Irish mineral deposits is an important component of the economy, providing essential minerals for industry, while generating employment and revenue for the State,” the policy states.

“By promoting mineral exploration, the Government enables the discovery and development of economic deposits. In doing this, it aims to maximise the mining sector’s contribution to the economy, while protecting against social and environmental impacts.”

Minco said in its interim six-month report ending June 2021 that the medium- to long-term demand for metals is increasing.

“The principal reason for the positive outlook is the growing recognition that metals and minerals are essential for addressing climate change and adapting to a green economy,” the report stated.

Source: irishexaminer.com

Boliden had halted production at its Tara mine in Ireland

Swedish miner Boliden (STO: BOL) said on Wednesday it had halted production at its Tara mine in Ireland, Europe’s largest zinc mine, due to increased water flows into the operation.

Water began flooding the underground mine as a crew was drilling a pilot raisbore hole for a ventilation shaft.

Inflow volumes are exceeding the capacity of the dewatering infrastructure, the company said, adding it was unclear for how long production will be stopped.

In 2020, the Tara mine produced 127,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 14,000 tonnes of lead concentrate.

The news boosted zinc prices 2.2% to 3,420 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange. On Tuesday, the metal had recorded the biggest gain in a month as Glencore (LON: GLEN) announced it was preparing to shut down production in Italy.

Zinc production had already been hit by supply cuts announced by Trafigura, Nyrstar and Glencore, which sent prices up 13% in October.

Global zinc production is estimated at about 14 million tonnes this year, with about half of that expected to come from China, the world’s largest producer.

The metal is mainly used to galvanize steel or iron by applying a zinc coating to stop rusting. Galvanized steel is used in buildings, cars and electronics.

Source: mining.com

Anti gold-mining group from Co Tyrone in Dublin to stage protest

A Co Tyrone organisation opposed to the development of a gold mine in the Sperrins will stage a protest march in Dublin this weekend.

The Greencastle People’s Office is organising the ‘Greencastle GPO to Dublin GPO’ protest on Saturday with several buses travelling down from Co Tyrone.

The group will walk from the GPO on O’Connell Street to the government buildings at Dail Eireann, where it will hand a letter to government officials stating “Ireland is not for sale”.

A controversial planning application for the development of the gold mine near Greencastle from Canadian company Dalradian Gold is currently under consideration by the Department for Infrastructure, which has indicated the project will be subject to a public inquiry.

In a Facebook post, the Greencastle People’s Office said: “Everyone is excited about next week’s march, it is brilliant to hear that all the other anti-mining groups around Ireland are coming and looking forward to meeting one and another

“In this campaign, it is good to know we are not on our own in this fight, that others have our back”.

“The bus is booked and we are ready to bring our message to the Dàil that gold mining is not an industry Ireland needs or should want”.

“We ask all the groups in the south to email their TDs and councillors and ask them to be there on the day to accept the letter which we will be handing in to say that we the people of Ireland are very clear in our opposition of gold mining and the destruction that mining would bring to our land”.

Source: Belfast Live

Irish women protected gold ores in Ireland’s ground

Around the world women are on the frontlines of the fight against extractivism. In Ireland, women are a vital component of these struggles. These land defenders are taking on leadership roles as well as less visible roles that sustain movements, such as critical domestic and administrative tasks. The women are from all walks of life, from artists, house wives, linguists, teachers, lawyers to farmers.

Ireland, North and South, has been identified as a hotspot in the new European mining boom. To date, twenty-seven percent of the south and twenty-five percent of the North has been concessioned for mineral prospecting licences. Divided by a border that water systems, pollutants and the air do not recognise. It is an Island united by the fact that both governments’ neoliberal policies actively invite the interest of the mining industry.

The global gold industry has been a driver of this mining rush, one of the most ecologically and socially destructive industries in the world. From the Sperrins in Counties Tyrone and Derry to Donegal and Connemara, rural communities are being confronted with plans to mine for gold. Most of the interest is coming from Canadian mining corporations.

North

 

While the pressing need to decarbonise our economies is often cited as the reason for increased mining around the world, there is often little to no debate on the need to reduce our consumption, particularly in the Global North. It is clear we cannot mine our way out of the climate crisis without sacrificing rural and Indigenous communities.

The Sperrin Mountains are a rolling upland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Northern Ireland. Here, Dalradian Gold Limited, a Canadian exploration company, has applied to open a large gold mine, close to the village of Greencastle in County Tyrone. In 2017 Dalradian submitted a huge planning application extending to 10,000 pages. They are seeking approval for an underground mine, a 17 storey high waste stack facility, and a processing plant. Opposition is fierce, with 37,000 objection letters lodged to date. This journey has not been easy, with plans dividing the community and earth defenders facing threats and intimidation.

Local communities point out the impacts of such plans are numerous and varied, from biodiversity destruction, air pollution, water contamination, health impacts for local people, and a loss of livelihood and sense of place. Among the ecological impacts of such a project is the threat to tributaries which flow into the transboundary Lough Foyle. The Owenkillew (SAC) and Owenreagh (ASSI) rivers run adjacent to the proposed site. Both are protected as the home to rare freshwater pearl mussels.

Regardless, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs granted Dalradian permission to discharge effluent into these rivers. In November 2019, Fidelma O’Kane, Save Our Sperrins member, successfully challenged this decision in the High Court.

South

 

The South of the Island is also facing the incursions of the global gold mining industry. Conroy Gold have been exploring in County Monaghan, while Arkle Resources, a Canadian company, have two sites in mind- one in Wicklow and one in Inishowen, County Donegal.

Resistance group Save Inishowen have been opposing these plans since the threat emerged in 2016. In Connemara, a Gealtacht (Irish speaking) region, resistance group Protect Connemara has successfully seen off gold prospectors BTU Metals Corp of Vancouver. They petitioned the Government to oppose the plans, highlighting that mining would damage the local economy which relies heavily on tourism and small scale farming. Donegal, The Sperrins and Connemara are all rural landscapes that have faced marginalisation and socio-economic exclusion. However, they are also incredibly rich and ancient landscapes shaped by millennia of culture and tradition. Landscapes which are of immeasurable intrinsic value.

Jacqueline Keenan from Greencastle explains: “People here love their land, there’s just so much history, past generations have suffered so much to hand it to us, and we want to be able to pass it to the next generation intact. There’s a deep down rootedness in us”.

Women

 

Tactics have ranged from public meetings, judicial reviews, an occupation of Dalradian’s proposed site near Greencastle, as well as in person events and webinars to share experiences and foster solidarity with other frontline communities from Peru, Cyprus, Romania, Colombia to the Lakota Nation.

Resistance is growing across the Island, not only to gold but to a range of mineral prospecting and mining. In February this year a network of community groups was formed with the name CAIM (communities against the injustice of mining).

Rose Kelly from Save Inishowen said: “It’s important this network is formed because we live on a beautiful island and it’s under threat from extractivism. It’s so important that we work together as communities who are on the frontline of this damaging industry.”

“Caim” is a Celtic term, meaning a circle of protection for the more-than-human community of life. It is an ethos embodied by the women striving to keep the gold in the ground.

Source: theecologist.org

 

 

IMC Exploration to buy Karaberd gold mine in Armenia

Ireland-based IMC Exploration is expanding the geographical scope of its operations by announcing a conditional agreement to buy the Karaberd gold mine, in northern Armenia. London-listed IMC will buy the entire issued share capital of MVI Ireland from Mineral Ventures Invest, a reverse takeover.

MVI holds the entire issued share capital in Assat, which has the operating licence for Karaberd, together with an ore-crushing production facility located near the site of the mine.

IMC chairperson Eamon O’Brien says the acquisition of the Karaberd mine and the development of the Karaberd ore-crushing facility will be transformational for the group, taking it from being a purely junior mining exploration company to being both a mining exploration company and a mining company.

“The proposed acquisition will transform IMC by adding a mining project and will generate cash-flow for IMC from both the monthly contribution to working capital and future mining operations. Furthermore, the geographical reach of IMC will be extended outside of Ireland which may lead to further opportunities for growth of IMC,” he adds.

Source: miningweekly.com

 

Koc Holding to acquire majority in 12 Irish gold mines

The Turkish Gold Miners Association forecast that Turkey’s 2021 gold output will amount to at least 45 tonnes, surpassing last year’s record-high of 42 tonnes.

London-listed Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (CGNR) has signed a letter of intent with Turkey’s Demir Export—a subsidiary of conglomerate Koc Holding—to establish a JV, namely Demir Export JV, on an earn-in basis to operate 12 gold mining licences in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, according to a stock exchange filing by Conroy

The licences in question relate to Conroy’s 65-km district scale gold trend in the Longford-Down Massif in the vicinity of Clontibret village, located along the border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. As is the case in respect of gold mines in Turkey, gold miners in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have to deal with sometimes hostile public reaction against gold mining, with inhabitants and residents worried about the potential for environmental destruction. Such destruction continues around the world, but Conroy says it is operating in line with commitments to environmentally compatible gold extraction.

Two licences, with reserves of 517,000 ounces, are located in Clontibret village in Northern Ireland, while nine licences apply to territory in the Republic of Ireland. According to the inked letter of intent, Demir will initially inject €1mn into the JV.

In the first earn-in phase, it will spend €4.5mn and earn 25% in interest.

In the second phase, it will spend €4.5mn and earn an additional 15% in interest.

And, in the final phase, it will earn an additional 17.5% in interest.

Option to dilute

Following the final phase, Conroy will have the option of retaining its 42.5% stake or diluting its stake via other options set out in the agreement.

Conroy, which also has eight gold mining licences in Finland, previously signed a proposed JV with Azerbaijan-based and London-listed Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) in regard to the licences in question, but the agreement in question has been terminated following the agreement with Demir. Conroy’s Finland licences, as well as one licence in Ireland, do not fall under the scope of the agreement with Demir, and the company is retaining 100% ownership in them.

However, Demir has been granted a right of first refusal on these licences in relation to any potential JV arrangements made by end-2021. Demir Export, one of a wide range of companies owned by Istanbul-listed conglomerate Koc Holding (KCHOL), has operated gold, iron, coal, zinc and copper mines in Turkey since 1957.

In February, London-listed Ariana Resources (AAU) established a JV with Turkish partners Ozaltin and Proccea in respect of the Kiziltepe gold mine in the Mardin province of Turkey

Source: intellinews.com

 

 

Group Eleven Resources gets good results from copper-silver mine in Ireland

Gortdrum is part of the group’s wholly-owned PG West project and two holes were sunk 1 kilometer (km) and 2.2km away from the former mine (mined between 1967 and 1975), along the main mineralizing structure – the “Gortdrum Fault Zone”. Group Eleven Resources Corp has been encouraged by its first exploration drilling at its Gortdrum copper-silver prospect – Ireland’s only modern, commercial-scale, copper mine.

One hole, from a depth of 46.2 metres (m) hit 14.4m of 0.221% copper and 2.1 g/t silver, including 0.80m of 0.620% copper and 4.4 g/t silver. The other, from 32.35m downhole, hit assays including 1.6m of 0.532% copper and 22.3 g/t silver, and 2.9m of 0.151% copper and 0.5 g/t silver.

Bart Jaworski, CEO at Group Eleven, told investors the company had been “pleasantly surprised” at just how extensive and continuous the zone of shallow copper mineralization appears to be.

“We see a lot of scope for a step-change at Gortdrum, given most historic holes were drilled vertically (on very steep structures), very few historic intercepts were assayed for silver and prospective NW-trending splay faults do not appear to have yet been explored,” he said.

This results represent the first drilling at Gortdrum since 1975 and show potentially a series of parallel faults across several hundred metres and a strike of 3km.

“Gortdrum was the first asset acquired by the company and, after being effectively off-the-market for over 40 years previously, it is great to see this prospect finally get the attention it deserves,” said the CEO.

“Gortdrum is integral to our flagship PG West zinc project in the Limerick Basin and is thought to represent the copper-rich ‘roots’ of the zinc prospects in the area.”

The site was mined, via open pit, from late-1967 to mid-1975, producing 38, 000 tonnes of copper and 2.9 million ounces of silver. Around 500,000 tonnes of high-grade copper remain un-mined on the east-end of open pit, at about 100m depth. Exploration drilling ceased in 1975 and the prospect lay dormant for over four decades as a prospecting licence was not reinstated after the mining lease (SML89) expired in 1986. This oversight was identified by Group Eleven in 2014 and the Gortdrum prospecting licenses were awarded in February 2015, the company said.

Source: proactiveinvestors.com

 

Ireland’s sustainable mining future

In order to ensure the transition to a green economy, Ireland and Europe must be open to exploration and mining of “critical metals”, according to leading geoscientists. “Persistent misinformation”, however, in relation to exploration activities could eventually impair the sector’s ability to support the transition, the Institute of Geologists of Ireland (IGI) warned. In response, the IGI launched a science-led series of factsheets to raise awareness of “the role of mineral exploration and mining in meeting Ireland’s future societal, economic, and environmental needs”.

With decarbonisation, the switch from fossil fuels means moving to renewable options such as wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy and battery storage which will create huge demand for critical metals, it warns. “However, society’s awareness is perceived as low that all of these processes are reliant on using a wide variety of metals and minerals.”

IGI spokesman John Barry said: “A future of clean and renewable energy to mitigate climate warming is not possible without metals. Mineral exploration and mining are essential to ensure supply of these metals.”

The critical role of mining had become less recognised in an increasingly technological world yet it is one “increasingly reliant on these critical metals”.

“Mineral exploration and mining, which are highly regulated in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland” he underlined.

Available at igi.ie, the series “aims to support learning and help inform the public conversation, including among communities, environmental interest groups, public representatives, and anyone with an interest in Ireland’s green energy future”.

‘Outdated perceptions’

 

The series was produced by experts in mineral exploration and mining, and environmental geologists based on the island of Ireland. They also address “outdated perceptions in relation to the industry and its practices, which are subject to rigorous safety and environmental standards and regulation”.

Europe’s green deal recognises the importance of ensuring mined and recycled materials in adopting green technology. “However, raw materials are lost in part or in full at various stages in the circular economy cycle. This means significant challenges still exist when it comes to realising a more circular economy without continued primary metal production,” the IGI notes.

Europe is 75 per cent dependent on imports for almost all metals and up to 100 per cent for some critical minerals. It is lagging behind the rest of the world, the IGI said, yet demand for minerals and metals has reached an all-time high, driven by population increase, advances in modern technologies and moves towards a low-carbon economy.

The Republic has only two working mines though it is a major international source of zinc generated by Tara Mines in Co Meath. Northern Ireland has one mine operated by Irish Salt Mining and Exploration in Co Antrim.

“Ireland can offer more. Strong potential exists to further explore for zinc, in addition to other known metals critical to the green economy which are also found on the island including silver, gold, copper, lead, lithium, barytes, antimony, cobalt, platinum group elements and rare earth elements,” the IGI adds.

Geologists are adapting to work in green energy technologies such as geothermal energy, carbon capture and energy storage, Mr Barry confirmed.

Source: irishtimes.com

 

Dalradian’s environmental info on Tyrone mining plan

Dalradian’s mine has been opposed on environmental and health grounds by residents around its proposed location at Curraghinalt. But Dalradian said the mine would bring major benefits to the area as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19 and faces Brexit.

Dalradian has said it’s given more environmental information to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) as the mining giant progresses plans for its controversial gold-silver-copper mine in Co Tyrone. Dalradian said the information provides another milestone for the company ahead of a public inquiry into its plans for the underground mine in the Sperrins. Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announced in June that a public inquiry would take place, adding that her department had received over 40,000 representations about the proposal. Dalradian, a Canadian company, said the latest information it’s provided gives “additional clarity for the department and statutory consultees”.

The firm said it includes a refinement of the shape of a dry stack so that it blends in with surrounding land. It said it had also given details on changes to the proposed roads, relating to road safety signage, minor amendments to road width and changes to road intersections. There was also additional information about a mine waste management plan. Dalradian president and chief executive Patrick FN Anderson said: “Our application has been thoroughly scrutinised for the past three years and two rounds of further environmental information (FEI) by a range of government departments, planners and outside experts.

“We are keen to begin the final test – a public inquiry – so that we can bring modern, environmentally responsible mining to Northern Ireland. With Brexit and Covid-19 threatening to have a massive impact on the economy, the mine will be immensely beneficial for Co Tyrone and the wider region, creating and supporting 1,000 jobs and supply chain spending of £750m over 20-25 years.

“We will be investing in training to make sure that it is local people who benefit most from the long-term opportunities this project will create.”

He added: “While we recognise that the economic opportunities provided by the mine are exciting, safeguarding the environment is also important.

“That’s why our project design includes the best available technology and a commitment to net zero carbon emissions over the lifetime of the mine.”

Source: belfasttelegraph.co.uk