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Lignite in Ballymoney

| Background to the issue | Arguments for development | Arguments against development |

Arguments for developing a lignite mine and power station

Ballymoney 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.

Map of lignite depositThe 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.

Accordingly 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.

The development has a number of benefits:

The 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 the burning.