Friends of the Earth conference on mines

Swatragh Mart
Swatragh Mart

Friends of the Earth are holding an international conference on the impact of ‘extractive industries’ at the Greenvale Hotel inn Cookstown this weekend.

It’s one of a series of events focussing on extraction projects in Northern Ireland;

Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland, and local ‘earth defenders’, are organising the events from 11th–15th April.

The conference at the Greenvale on Saturday, beginning at 10am, will welcome experts from Latin America and across Europe, as well as local voices, to explore the economic, social and environmental impacts of extractive industries.

James Orr, Director of Friends of the Earth NI, commented: “A number of new major mining licences have been issued around the Irish border targeting rare and precious metals and there is a high proportion of illegal mines and quarries dotted in every county. The fossil fuel industry has also recently tried to set up here, threatening our forests and our water supply. Looking globally, the sourcing of feed from other countries for our rapidly developing intensive farming industry has impacts on many other special places such as the Amazon rainforest.

“Much of the industry here is poorly regulated - retrospective planning is common and enforcement is weak. Stories of environmental injustice are persistent and increasing. We have the biggest illegal dump on these islands in an unregulated former quarry. Lough Neagh has the largest unlawful mine in a Special Protection Area in the whole of Europe.

He added: “Communities need to be aware of what is involved when extractive industries come to their townland.”