Plans to create 190 jobs with the planned re-opening of Galmoy zinc and lead mine in counties Kilkenny and Laois have received a boost.
This follows Laois County Council granting planning permission to Shanoon Resources Ltd for the re-opening of mining activities on its side of the Laois-Kilkenny border.
The Laois dimension to the plan concerns an underground extension to the mine underlying the townland of Kyle, Co Laois, and will comprise the development of underground workings and access route to join underground mining works concurrently proposed in County Kilkenny.
However, Shanoon Resources Ltd’s plans to proceed with the re-opening are being held up by an appeal lodged by state agency.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the Kilkenny County Council planning permission last year to recommence mining activities across eight townlands near Galmoy in Co Kilkenny.
Planning documents lodged with the councils state that mining activities were ended “prematurely” at Galmoy in 2014.
Mining at Galmoy commenced in 1997 and planning consultants for Shanoon Resources Ltd, Tom Phillips & Associates, have stated that “significant ore reserves remain underground”.
The planning application states that the re-opening will involve the creation of 100 construction jobs for a one-year period and ninety jobs when operational.
The mine will have a lifetime of seven to ten years once it re-commences operations. The consultants state that in addition to zinc and lead, small amounts of silver will also be mined.
The submission by Tom Phillips & Associates stated that “an accessible mineral resource with existing associated infrastructure such as that at the Galmoy mine is rare. There is a recognised global shortage of minerals such as zinc”.
The consultants state the global storage of zinc is causing a knock on effect on the cost of much-needed building materials.
The application site is 442 hectares and located 3.5km from the village of Galmoy in Co Kilkenny.
The planning documents state that it is anticipated that 310,000 tonnes of ore will be mined per annum while 210,000 tonnes of sorted ore per annum will be exported from the site.
Plans for the Kilkenny portion of the mine were lodged in July 2021 and IFI has told An Bord Pleanala that the environmental impact of the re-opening of mining on receiving surface water bodies has not been adequately addressed by the applicant.
IFI has stated that these concerns were not put to the applicant in the Council’s request for further information while the application was before the Council.
The IFI has stated that “there have been multiple failures by the planning authority in their consideration of this application and that permission should be overturned pending satisfactory resolution of the concerns documented”.