Gyproc gets green light to recommence mining

Gyproc has received permission to excavate the former Drumgoosat mine, to restore its existing open cast site at Knocknacran, and to press ahead with plans to build a community sports complex for the Magheracloone area.

The green-light was given by Monaghan County Council last week despite concerns in the community over the possible threat of further subsidence in the area. The area’s community centre was damaged and subsequently condemned following a subsidence incident in 2018.

Mining has taken place in the locality since 1958, with the open cast mine operating since 1989.

In 2022 Saint-Gobain, Gyproc’s parent company, was given the green light for a community centre, site road and parking, as well as services, access and all associated site works.

The development includes the construction of a ‘Cut-and-Cover Tunnel’ under the existing Carrickmacross to Kingscourt regional road (R179) for the transport of gypsum “by haulage truck and covered conveyor” to the processing plant at Knocknacran.

The R179 will need to be temporarily re-aligned during the tunnel construction period. The permission also provides for replacement vehicular access to the existing Knocknacran open-cast mine and Knocknacran processing plant area site from the L4816.

The proposed development also includes the demolition of four houses and sheds in the townlands of Knocknacran (East & West), Co Monaghan; and the pumping of water from the existing Drumgoosat underground workings via an existing borehole on the Knocknacran West Mine site.

Pre-planning application meetings were held with Monaghan County Council in January and February 2023, in advance of these latest plans being lodged. In addition, extensive correspondence is ongoing between the local authority and Saint Gobain in relation to recent subsidence events at Knocknacran West/Drumgoosat.

Permission was granted with 26 conditions including the payment of development levies and bonds totalling €880,000. Other conditions require that the Gyproc tunnel have a lifespan of 120 years and that stability monitoring of roads continue throughout the lifetime of the mining activity, as well as new stability assessments after the mine’s closure.