Any application for mining in Connemara would be “extraordinarily difficult to justify considering environmental and infrastructure constraints Seán Kyne has said.
The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Galway West TD was speaking after Canadian mining company MOAG was refused a prospecting licence for the Roundstone/Ballyconneely area.
The Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment chose to refuse the application, which has been the subject of intense protest by the people of Connemara, on the grounds that the company had failed to provide sufficient information supporting their application.
MOAG was asked by the department to provide additional information based on submissions received from members of the public concerning this project.
“I appreciate and understand the concerns that many people expressed regarding the possibility of mining,” Seán Kyne said, adding that he felt the application process was robust, and was always going to yield a fair result.
“The application was to prospect only, not to mine. An application to mine would be made to Galway County Council and would have involved an extremely detailed level of environmental study.”
Deputy Kyne added that he has said in the past that he feels “any application to mine would be extraordinarily difficult to justify considering the environmental and infrastructural constraints present in Connemara.”
The department had earlier signaled its intent to grant MOAG a licence to prospect for gold and silver in the area west of Roundstone.
Multiple local protest groups, political parties, and An Taisce objected to the move on environmental grounds.
While supporters of the project said that prospecting is a minimally invasive activity with little environmental impact, others said that was impossible to determine in this case as simply not enough information was given about the planned works.
Another mining company, BTU Metals, is still seeking a prospecting licence for gold in Maam Valley.