Poots announces major extension to Carrickfergus salt mine
Published on Thu, 11 Mar 2010
Environment Minister Edwin Poots today announced planning approval to extend Northern Ireland’s famous salt mine ensuring enough supply to grit our roads for the next three decades.
The major application will extend the mine by almost 279 hectares, the equivalent of 340 international football pitches, and will result in 10 new jobs. Current salt reserves are estimated to run out in 2012 and this extension will provide a further 30 years’ working life to the mine.
The Minister said: This is good news for the local economy. The mine is one of only three in the British Isles and supplies salt both throughout Northern Ireland and internationally.
The application was processed in just six months by the Planning Service, showing the benefits of the public and private sector working together to make a positive impact on the economy and quality of life for our community.”
The Minister continued: Irish Salt Mining and Exploration (ISME) makes a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy. With this approval we have secured the positions of its 54 full time employees and up to 10 new jobs, together with a large number of companies and people involved in the supply and maintenance of this industry.
We have been through the coldest winter in 30 years and tribute has to be paid to the staff at Irish Salt mines who worked around the clock throughout the winter period to ensure there was enough salt to grit the roads.”
Chief Executive of ISME, Danny Quinlan said: This approval secures the future of the mine in Carrickfergus. In working with Planning Service staff we have been pleased to note their professionalism and courtesy throughout the process, helping to identify any issues early on and working with us to resolve them.
We’ve had a particularly tough winter this year nevertheless, due to pre-planning and investing in the latest technologies ISME has shown that we can compete on a national and international scale.”
Jason Hopps, who heads the mine design and planning team for ISME said: We have undertaken more than two years of exploration followed by one year of scoping and preparation of this planning application and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of our consultants SLR and all the consultees in the process, including the Planning Service, DETI, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, Carrickfergus and Larne Borough Councils and the local community.”
Notes to editors:
1.The full planning application was received on 23 September 2009. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Statement and was made valid on the 25 September 2009.
2.The application site is located to the north east of Carrickfergus and to the south west of the village of Ballycarry. The site straddles the council areas of Carrickfergus and Larne (175 ha in Carrickfergus, 104 ha in Larne).
3.The mine is the only site producing rock salt for winter road maintenance not only in Northern Ireland but in the whole of Ireland.
4.The cost of importing rock salt for roads maintenance in Northern Ireland would be significantly higher than that available from this mine.
5.Article 31 was applied on 8 January 2010 on the grounds that the proposed development would, if permitted,
·Be of significance to the whole of northern Ireland; and
·Affect the whole of a neighbourhood.
6.Article 31 Planning Applications are 'major' planning applications, designated under Article 31 of the Planning Order, that are deemed of strategic or economic significance, or are of a scale or nature that may have a significant environmental impact.
7.Some of the Article 31 decisions Planning Service has processed in the past twelve months are; Magheramorne Quarry (£100million), Down High School, Northcott Shopping Centre (£35million), Hilden Mill (£100million), the Dairy Farm Shopping Centre (£25million), and the Sainsbury’s store at Balloo Retail Park in Bangor.
8.This application constitutes a £20 million capital investment.
9.All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.