Minister of State Killeen opens the Green Mines Conference in Tipperary


Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Tony Killeen, TD, formally opened a 3-day 'Green Mines' international Conference in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, which is part-funded under the auspices of INTERREG IIIB, Atlantic Area.

Welcoming the participants to Nenagh, the Minister said - "Nenagh is a particularly appropriate location for the Green Mines Conference, given the commencement of rehabilitation of the Silvermines former mining areas."

He added that delegates would be able to see, at first hand, the problems created by centuries of mining there and be briefed in relation to the detail of the rehabilitation plans which were about to commence. The Minister noted that planning permission for the work of Gortmore had been granted recently and that tenders for that phase of the project were closing later in the week.

The Silvermines rehabilitation project - which is funded by the Government - would, the Minister said, be carried out in accordance with best international practice. It was also intended to transform the area into a valuable community resource with tourism potential.

The Minister said that the legacy of old abandoned mine sites is not peculiar to the Silvermines area or to Ireland. Similar problems are to be found throughout Europe and the rest of the world. A more modern approach to environment issues, generally, has led to governments having to turn their attention to clearing up such sites.

He reminded delegates that the Green Mines project is an international collaboration with financial support from the INTEREG programme and is targeted on environmental remediation projects at abandoned mine areas. He also said that modern working mines are operated in a more environmentally sustainable manner and also had mandatory arrangements for their closure phase.

"The Government is aware of the need for balance between remedying the adverse environmental effects of mining and preserving the historical, cultural and economic features of the mining heritage" - concluded Minister Killeen.

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