Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
There are 12 hard rock quarries in Fermanagh producing raw materials for the construction industry and for agriculture. Limestone is most commonly extracted but sandstone, dolerite and shale are produced from 3 quarries. Much of the limestone is produced as a building aggregate for use as coated stone or fill material but together with shale, high grade limestone is the principal raw material of Fermanagh's cement industry. At Belcoo a magnesian limestone is quarried which, when milled for use in feed, has chemical properties beneficial to the health of cattle. In the Derrylin and Tempo areas deposits of sand and gravel are worked for use in construction. However, suitable reserves are increasingly difficult to locate in Fermanagh and supplies are therefore likely to continue to be imported from outside the District.
Peat is cut in a variety of locations throughout the District, some of it for sale, but in most locations as a domestic fuel for the cutters.
Mineral exploration operations in Fermanagh have been directed towards both metalliferous ores and oil bearing rock. While no potentially exploitable reserves have yet been located and there is presently no work in progress, exploration licences are still held by a number of companies.
Mineral extraction can have a significant effect on many aspects of the environment including human living conditions. Unlike many human activities however mineral extraction can only take place where the resource is located. For some purposes reserves may be available from a variety of locations offering a choice in the context of environmental protection. Other reserves may be limited in occurrence or possess uncommon characteristics so that a balance between their exploitation and environmental protection needs particularly careful consideration.
To achieve that balance in Fermanagh sufficient scope is required for the continued operation of the minerals industry in the District which exploits local resources of various grades with different end uses; shales used in the manufacture of cement, and sand and gravel. At the same time a degree of protection must be maintained for Fermanagh's environment which recognises its outstanding qualities and values, including the essential contribution it can make to the development of tourism and recreation.
- To balance the demands of the mining and extractive industry in Fermanagh with the need to protect the environment.
The Department's Strategic and Regional Planning Policies for Minerals are currently contained in "A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland" published in September 1993.