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STRONG OPPOSITION to the awarding of prospecting licences in Tulla and Bunratty is stemming from environmental groups and local politicians.

A two-week extension has been granted by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications for submissions relating to a prospecting licence sought by Meath based Minco Ireland Ltd to prospect for base metals, baryte, gold and silver ores in Tulla and Bunratty.

The holder of a prospecting licence is entitled to explore for mineral deposits and does not authorise mining of any minerals. The activities permissible under a licence are, in general, non-invasive and of minimal environmental impact.

Futureproof Clare amassed over 1,500 signatures to a petition in opposition to the granting of the licence. All-Ireland group Communities Against the Injustice of Mining (CAIM) joined forces with Clare groups including the newly formed local group called Keep Tulla Untouched. An area of over 51km sq is included in the Tulla application.

Senator Roisin Garvey (GP) was among those to request Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan (GP) to delay the awarding of the licence.

Awarding the licence would pose “an unacceptable risk,” Emanuela Ferrari of Futureproof Clare believed. She warned of the habitat and biodiversity loss associated with mining.

Local livelihoods would be negatively impacted by mining, Emma Karran of Futureproof Clare flagged. “Farming, fishing and tourism are dependent upon clean water supply and well maintained landscapes. Mining in Clare would devastate many local businesses and the economic systems that the people of Clare have worked very hard to build. The proposed site sits close between two proposed UNESCO sites: The Burren National Park and Inis Cealtra off the shores of Lough Derg.”

An emergency motion was passed at Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council appealing to Minister Ryan not to proceed with the awarding of the licence. Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) criticised the lack of notice to the public for the plans, “We must say that mining is not of great use to Clare, refusing prospecting licence would be best but a proper extension of time for more public engagement is needed”. Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) called for the ban on fracking in Clare to be extended to mining.

Little to no environmental impact will arise from the prospecting, Cllr Liam Grant (GP) explained. “Driving your car to Ennis would have more of an impact realistically. If they want to go ahead with mining that it is a different story, we’ve had good and bad examples of that all over the world”. He noted that 1000 people were employed “at one stage” with the Tara mines.

Many of the licences awarded in Clare have not been acted upon, Director of Economic Development, Liam Conneally said. He confirmed that a procedure would be established to notify elected members when future prospective licences are sought.I

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