Calls for halt to granting of all mining licences


THE Council has urged the Department for Economy not to grant a mining prospecting licence for Fermanagh, and to immediately halt the granting of all licences to mining companies until an urgent review into the system is carried out.
At last week’s Environmental Services Committee meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, members approved a letter to be sent to the Department recording their formal opposition to the proposed granting of a prospecting licence to Karelian Diamond Resources PLC, for a wide swathe of Fermanagh including Brookeborough, Tempo, Maguiresbridge and Roslea.
“The Council contends that wholly inadequate information has been provided,” the Council stated in its letter to the Department.
Citing an absence of information on the proposed investigation, depth of bore holes, and the environmental impact among their examples, they added it was “impossible for any interested party to have a full understanding of the proposed works.”
The letter stated the inaccuracies in the names of the townlands provided gave the Council no confidence. Moreover, they said the entire system of issuing licences was fundamentally flawed, stating it appeared the Department leaned in favour of granting licences and that communities were disengaged from the process.
The Council requested a review of the system, asking for an immediate moratorium on the assessment process until this review is complete. They stated tourism work was being carried out in the Sliabh Beagh area and the Karelian application was likely to have an adverse impact on this.
Deputy Green Party leader Tanya Jones also expressed concern over a lack of information given out about the proposed granting of the licence by the Department during the public consultation process, which closed last week. Speaking to the Herald, Ms Jones said: “We wanted more information, especially when the geographic area is so enormous its really impossible to tell what the possible impacts could be.”
The environmental campaigner, who reiterated that such decisions were undemocratic when taken in the absence of an Assembly, also called for an overhaul of the system.
“One of the things we need is a complete review and assessment of the whole system of granting licence and a proper look at what the intention is, what Northern Ireland needs to go into the future because the legislation dates back to the 60s,” she said. “We were in a completely different situation and a lot wasn’t know that’s known today.”

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