Planning permission given for new excavations at Monaghan gypsum mine that collapsed under GAA club

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webnexttech | Planning permission given for new excavations at Monaghan gypsum mine that collapsed under GAA club
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Gyproc has been given the go-ahead to open up the old Drumgoosat mine near Magheracloone in Co Monaghan, despite concerns in the local -community over subsidence in the area.The gypsum mine was previously an underground operation, which closed in 1989 when the only gypsum left was in the pillars supporting its roof.
Some of those pillars collapsed in 2018 after a flooding incident, creating large cracks in the earth above.
A GAA clubhouse, community centre and playing fields located on the land overhead were destroyed as a result.
Gyproc is in the process of replacing those facilities elsewhere in the community.
The company last year sought permission from Monaghan County Council to go back into the mine from above in an open-cast operation to scoop out the remaining gypsum.
The application was opposed by local residents and attracted dozens of submissions raising concerns about further subsidence and about the environmental legacy an open-cast mine would leave.
Gyproc already has one depleted open-cast mine at nearby Knocknacran and an underground mine at Drummond.
Members of the community are due to meet tomorrow night to consider their next move.
“We’re going to discuss appealing the decision of Monaghan County Council to An Bord Pleanála,” said local resident, Geraldine Ward.
“We’re not happy with the decision and there are aspects of it that we would have particular concerns about.” Gyproc, part of the Saint-Gobain global construction materials company, welcomed the decision to grant permission.
“We will now work with our team to review the detail of the permission and commence next steps in this important development,” it said in a statement.
Permission was granted with 26 conditions that include development contributions and bonds totalling €880,000.
One aspect of the plan worrying locals is the decision to green-light a tunnel beneath the R179 road, which runs between Kingscourt and Carrickmacross.
The road was closed for weeks after the initial collapse, while a road serving Magheracloone was closed for almost a year.
It was subsequently closed again temporarily after further subsidence.
The tunnel is to be used by Gyproc to transport gypsum – a mineral used to the make plaster of Paris and fertiliser – by haulage trucks from the new excavation area to a processing plant and also to bring earth and other non-gypsum material to fill in the old Knocknacran open-cast mine.
Planning conditions require that the tunnel be built with a design life of 120 years, but with the intention that it would be managed by Gyproc for the lifetime of the Drumgoosat mine and then backfilled with concrete and sealed.
Conditions also require stability monitoring of roads throughout the lifetime of the mining activity, and fresh -stability assessments after its eventual closure.
The 2018 incident happened after digging in the Drummond mine broke through to an underground lake, which poured into the mine for months.
In the emergency that followed, the company pumped out water into the old Drumgoosat mine, where it undermined the gypsum pillars until they collapsed.

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