Mining cannot proceed without community acceptance – Matt Carthy MEP
Local MEP, Matt Carthy, has stated that mining licences should not be granted in the absence of community acceptance. The Sinn Féin representative was speaking after it emerged that Adventus Zinc Ltd has applied for a renewal of their prospecting licence, which covers much of South Monaghan.
A public meeting concerning local mining developments is to be held in Magheracloone next Monday. Speaking in advance of the event, which is organised by the Drumgossatt/Knocknacran Residents’ Group, Matt Carthy said that if companies were forced to secure the approval of those living close to mining operations before they were granted licences then many of the problems faced by local communities would not emerge.
He said: “Many people have been surprised to learn that Adventus Zinc have applied for a renewal of their prospecting licence. This licence covers areas in Drummond Otra, Magheross, Magheraboy and Lisanisk and therefore many residents are likely to have views on the matter. But, rather than engage with residents, the company submitted their application in the days prior to Christmas. It is easy to assume that this was an effort to ensure minimum public engagement with the process.
“It is these types of antics that lead to public distrust in mining and prospecting companies. That Monday’s meeting on the impact of Mining developments takes place in Magheracloone is apt. That community has been at the brunt of mining failures where families have been displaced, facilities lost and entire areas discommoded due to the massive sink holes that appeared overnight.
“For years the concerns of residents who expressed fears of such incidents were dismissed, not just by the company involved but by the statutory agencies responsible for monitoring them. Now Gyproc plan to expand their existing open case mining operations.
“For me the solution is clear. In other to secure prospecting licences or permission to mine, companies should be first obliged to garner the support of the local community. The track record of previous operations should also be taken into account. That would force the companies involved to proactively engage with concerns of residents.
“At the moment the planning and licencing processes are skewed in favour of the companies rather than the communities. We in Sinn Féin are committed to correcting that imbalance.
“I commend the Drumgossatt/Knocknacran Residents’ Group for organising next Monday’s meeting and I encourage people to attend. With the deadline for submissions to the Adventus Zinc proposal closing on the 18th January this is an ideal opportunity for the public to be informed of the proposals but also to hear from residents who live beside the current Gyrpoc mines and other communities involved in battles with mining companies”.