Wednesday 21 August 2019

An Taisce joins locals in fight against potential Connemara gold mine

Beauty spot: A Canadian mining company has applied for a prospecting licence at Roundstone in Connemara
Beauty spot: A Canadian mining company has applied for a prospecting licence at Roundstone in Connemara

Gabija Gataveckaite

An Taisce has joined Connemara locals in the fight against a potential gold mine.

The environmental charity has made a submission against the granting of a prospecting license for a Canadian mining company.

If granted, the prospecting license would allow MOAG to explore Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch in Connemara to see if there are valuable minerals for extraction.

"The granting of an Exploration License is a de facto acceptance by the State of the suitability of the area for mining extraction," said Ian Lumley, An Taisce Advocacy Officer.

"It clearly confers an expectation by the licensee investing in the exploration work that the State supports development in mining in the location identified, and that any mining license application will be treated favourably by the State and subject only to regulatory process," he added.

The charity added that the process surrounding the prospecting application is inadequate in the public consultation process, in specifying what minerals are being explored and the extent of exploration activity.

Last week, reported that locals have met the possibility of a gold mine with harsh criticism.

A petition opposing the prospecting license has reached almost 5,500 signatures.

The local community has raised concerns about the impact a potential mine will have on the environment and some of the sites in Connemara, may of which are protected.

"As someone who treasures the place, I'm heartbroken to think, particularly at this time in our history, when there is such an awareness of the value of our last remaining wilderness, that a mining company would be able to threaten the whole, delicate, balance of that environment," said local Annie Franklin.

"The Irish government needs to understand the value of what they have stewardship. Short term gain does not stand any more," she added.

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