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Protect Moylisha group continue campaign against Lithium in Wicklow mining

 Planned mining area is close to key point of the Wicklow Way


Protect Moylisha Hill campaigners attending one of their protests.

Protect Moylisha Hill campaigners attending one of their protests.

Protect Moylisha Hill campaigners attending one of their protests.


LOCAL residents are continuing their campaign against plans for lithium exploration along the Wicklow and Carlow border.

Blackstairs Lithium Company, a subsidiary of the world’s largest lithium producer Ganfeng Lithium Corporation, has been investigating the Blackstairs area since 2009. Blackstairs is also partly owned by the Canadian based International Lithium Corporation

The campaign group named Protect Moylisha Hill have voiced concerns over the impact mining for lithium will have on the area’s delicate eco-system. They are also worried that the area it is planned to mine encompasses part of the Wicklow Way.

Protect Moylisha Hill Chairman Anthony McNulty said: “There has been absolutely no effort to engage with locals on this matter and I think they know there are such strong feelings against the plans. They are behaving as if it’s a done deal without ever having consulted with the local community.

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"Our countryside is being sold out and the rural population is being held to ransom. They are a prospecting and mining company and are telling their shareholders that people in the area support the project, which simply isn’t true.

“There is such a focus on biodiversity at the moment, but a mining project would destroy all of that. The area planned for mining is close to Clonegal, which is the finish or start point of the Wicklow Way, which is the oldest international walk in the world, and all other international walks were based on the Wicklow Way. You might as well close Clonegal off if the mining is to take place.

“There’s a registered aquifer up there that could feed farms and home wells up to 20 miles away. I calculated that 40 per cent of that surplus water will end up in the River Derry, which in turn will impact on the Slaney. Also, the local road system can’t handle the number of vehicles already using it, so imagine the chaos if you have countless large trucks using it on a daily basis as well.”

Anthony has also been in contact with other communities in the likes of Chile and Peru to hear from their experiences of dealing with lithium mining in their localities.

He was also present for a protest held on Thursday against Coillte’s €200 million Irish forest fund agreed with Gresham House. The fund is set out to plant an average of 700 hectares of new forests over the next five years. Coillte, a semi-state agency, has pledged to plant 10,000 hectares of new forests by 2050 and the British investors would account for 3.5 per cent of these new forests.

“Coillte was established in 1988 with the mandate to buy land and produce timber on behalf of the Irish people. To take hardy timber and sell it out to investors simply isn’t fit for purpose. People in the immediate hinterland think Coillte are mad to start considering selling land,” he said.