Minister Moves on Mining Fears

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The Minister with responsibility for natural resources Fergus O’Dowd has moved to assuage any fears about the issuing of prospecting licences in Inishowen.

In the wake of last Tuesday’s Derry Journal lead story, which confirmed more than 100 licences were to be granted in the Inishowen peninsula, this newspaper was contacted by a number of concerned citizen.

Ms. Toni Devine, who has lived in Kinnego Bay for 30 years, said a public meeting on the issue had been held in the area some years back when mining in the peninsula was first mooted. She claims that 70/80 people attended that meeting to voice their concerns.

She said: “There is real concern about this. The mining companies are the people who make the money. What they leave behind is destruction - contaminated water, despoiled landcapes, and ruined lives - and all for a quick buck. Right now the price of base metals is making prospecting an attractive proposition because it’ll attract venture capitalists for the big companies and that’s is what this is all about.”

Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn, who raised the issue in the Daily on Wednesday, was assured by Minister O’Dowd that in carrying out all survey activities within the licensed area it was a strict condition that the licensee ‘must conduct operations so as to avoid damage to the environment and the amenities of the area, to avoid or minimise disturbance of persons resident there and comply with all relevant statutory planning and environmental requirements.’