NORTH Tipperary County Council has been given the green light to clean up the Silvermines with a new Mine Waste Management Facility at Garryard Tailings Lagoon, in Gorteenadiha.
There has been a long tradition of mining activity over the years in the Silvermines area, resulting in mine waste deposition sites at a number of locations, along with the pollution of streams, groundwater and soils by contaminants that were either dissolved from the mine waste or dispersed in dust blown from former mining areas, noted the County Council in an application to build the facility.
Arising from significant local concern over adverse health effects, a series of scientific investigations were carried out. The studies highlighted the importance of collecting the hazardous waste from all the former mining areas so that it could be safely stored in a single waste disposal facility specifically designed and constructed for that purpose.
“It is proposed to construct the Mine Waste Management Facility (MWMF) at the site of the existing Garryard tailings lagoon, situated north of the old Mogul mine/plant site. It will comprise an engineered single containment facility for the disposal of hazardous mine waste.
“It will accommodate mine waste in situ at the existing lagoon together with mine wastes to be imported from other affected sites within the Silvermines area. The offending wastes will be excavated and stored in the specially designed facility where they can be properly managed to prevent further release of pollutants.”
The Board approved the development, with 10 conditions, on March 27. “It it is considered that the proposed development would be a satisfactory means to address the historical mining contamination of the Silvermines area and would lead to an improvement in the overall environmental condition of the site and the Silvermines
area, and would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” stated An Bord Pleanala.