Diamond mining one step closer

THE HUNT for diamonds in Fermanagh is on after the go-ahead was given to start prospecting in the east of the county.
Diamond mines may be rare in western Europe, but it would appear old tales of diamonds appearing in Fermanagh rivers hold weight. Now, a Dublin company is hoping to cash in on the county’s suspected abundance of precious stones.
Despite clear objections from the Council, as well as a petition that garnered 1,500 local signatures when Karelian Diamond Resources Ltd first applied for the prospecting license in 2017, the Department for the Economy has given the company the green light.
The license, which also includes prospecting for base metals, covers a large area of the east of the county, including Tempo, Maguiresbridge, Donagh, and Roslea. It is understood the search will focus mainly on the Brookeborough and Fivemiletown areas, however, where a large uncut diamond was found in the Colebrooke River in the nineteenth century.
Brookeborough councillor Sheamus Greene (left) has called on the licence to be revoked, and for no further mineral prospecting licences to be issued by the Department in Fermanagh or elsewhere, in light of deep public concern. “There is huge concern in the local community about this development,” said Cllr Greene. “I would call on the Department of the Economy to rescind all licences that have been passed in recent years. Local communities have had enough of these companies coming in and walking all over them in their pursuit of large profits. Enough is enough, no more.”
Cllr Victor Warrington said he was concerned about the granting of the licence when so little was known about was involved in the process.
“Obviously, we’re very familiar with the gold mining and the type of drilling that has to be done for that,” he said. “It’s something similar to the fracking in the west of Fermanagh. I don’t know if it’s the same procedure to look for diamonds.”
Back in 2017 when Karelian first applied for the licence its chairman Richard Conroy told the Herald diamond mining was “the most environmentally friendly mining you can do” and said the industry could create jobs in Fermanagh.
Last week, in a letter of response to the Council’s concerns, the Department said it had taken the decision to grant the license after required notification was given.
“It is important to clarify the provisions relating to the prospecting for minerals are separate and distinct from those relating to mining or extraction of mineral deposits an that these licenses are for prospecting only,” wrote Mark Wilson from the Department’s minerals and petroleum branch.
Mr Wilson said prospecting would be carried out under strict regulatory and environmental controls.

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