Background to the issue | Arguments
| Arguments against development
Arguments for developing a lignite mine and power station
Power Limited (BPL) is is owned by AuIron Energy, an Australian company.
A prospecting licence was granted in 1986 and this has been renewed every
two years since then. BPL now want to gain planning permission for a mine
and power station. The power station will be located off Gracehill Road
close to the village of Kilraghts.
proposal will require a connection to the national grid at Kells. A number
of alternative sites for the power station were considered. However to
have to transport the lignite more than 10 kilometres from the mine would
be too costly to allow the project to go ahead. It
would also require 456 trucks each day to transport the lignite.
an onsite power station is a more sensible option. The lignite
will be mined at a rate of 6 million tonnes each year, but only 800 hectares
of the mine site will be affected at any time.
development has a number of benefits:
market for electricity in the island of Ireland is likely to require
addition power generation by 2007.
has a dependence of 73% on imported fuels and the cost of electricity
is higher than in the rest of the British Isles.
supplies are dominated by just 5 countries (UK, Algeria, former Soviet
Union, Norway and Netherlands). Of these Norway, Former Soviet Union
and Algeria are set to increase their production. One fear is that these
countries will come together to force up the price of natural gas, forcing
countries that depend on imported fuels to pay increased price to generate
electricity. At present 53% of Northern Ireland's electricity is generated
by gas: by 2005 it is forecast to expand to 65% and to 90% by 2020.
project would provide a major economic boost to the local area and to
the island as a whole.
rehabilitation of the area after mining will involve the upgrade of
public roads in the area and the creation of a lake in the mined area.
construction and operation of the mine will bring much needed employment
into the Ballymoney area, and further spin off benefits. It is estimated
that the mine and power station operations will employ 300 people. Design
and construction will produce as many as 1,500 direct jobs, but this
should generate between 3 and 5 times more jobs than that because of
a 'multiplier effect'.
development will not affect any internationally or Nationally designated
or protected sites.
potential effects of mining on the groundwater below the River Bush
has been considered and flow compensation measures have been proposed.
mine will not affect the whole development area at once as it is planned
in a number of stages. At each stage the land used before will be returned
to its natural state.
are 30 recorded archaeological monuments within the development area.
Some, such as the inscribed stone at Drumnaqueran, can be removed and
replaced at the end of the mining. Others, such as the rath
at Upper Greenshields will be fully excavated before they are destroyed.
Ballymoney deposit contains an estimated 700 million tonnes of lignite
and is a major asset for Northern Ireland. It is well suited for use as
a fuel for generating electricity. Tests have shown a low sodium (0.02%)
and chlorine (0.01%) content which suggests that the fuel will allow efficient
heat exchange to the boilers in the power plant. Also there is only 0.22%
sulphur in the lignite so this should reduce the risk of pollution from