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 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
"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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