The closure of Galmoy Mines has had a detrimental impact not just in the immediate townsland but right across North Kilkenny, according to a local councillor.
Cllr Maurice Shortall said that the closure had a ‘detrimental impact’ in his own home town of Castlecomer where a number of people worked there, including Mine Manager Mike Lowther, Byrnesgrove.
“The loss of quality well paid jobs is a huge blow and will have knock on offects in all of the local economies involved. I understand there is planning permission granted for a bio energy plant on the site for the conversion of brown bin waste to electricity, this is welcome but alternative enterprises should be explored with the relevant agencies to fill what is a deepening vacuum,” he said.
Cllr Mary Hilda Kavanagh who lives close to the mine said that her main concern is that the environment be restored to it’s natural state.
“Two of the tailings ponds have been rehabilitated and several feet of soil has been put down and grass has been sown and there are cattle grazing there and that meat is fit for human consumption.
“There are very strict conditions that the company has to leave the enviroment as they found it. They also have to ensure that the water scheme complies with all the regulations.
“The mines gave good employment locally and it is regrettable that they did not last longer. There was no massive outcry when they closed as most people knew that it was a job which would only last for ten to 15 years so they made provisions. A number of people who were working there found employment in the mines in Lisheen and Clara. It is great to see that an alternative industry has plans to go in there,” she said.
“Mining has ceased completely at the mine in the past year and all the shafts are now completely closed,” she added.
A small number of staff remain on site to maintain the property. The local water supply is supplied by the company under a group mine scheme and testing is ongoing to ensure that the water is not contaminated in any way.
Mining of remnant high grade ore was fully completed in October 2012 and all ore has now been transported to a neighboring mine for processing during 2013.
Execution of the approved mine closure plan is currently underway. Costs of almost €3 million were incurred during 2013 for mine closure and rehabilitation work. This included expenditures on land and tailings rehabilitation, electrical power, professional fees and personnel costs.