Plans to reopen Galmoy zinc mine get boost

Laois County Council grants planning permission to Shanoon Resources

Plans to create 190 jobs with the planned reopening of Galmoy zinc and lead mine in counties Kilkenny and Laois have received a boost.

Laois County Council has granted planning permission to Shanoon Resources Ltd for the reopening of mining activities on its side of the Laois-Kilkenny border.

The Laois dimension to the plan concerns an underground extension to the mine underlying the townland of Kyle and will comprise the development of underground workings and access route to join underground mining works concurrently proposed in Co Kilkenny.

However, Shanoon Resources Ltd’s plans to proceed with the reopening are being held up by an appeal lodged by State agency Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) lodged with An Bord Pleanála against the Kilkenny County Council planning permission last year for the recommencement of mining activities across eight town lands near Galmoy.


Planning documents lodged with the councils said mining activities were ended “prematurely” at Galmoy in 2014.

Mining at Galmoy started in 1997 and Tom Phillips & Associates, planning consultants for Shanoon Resources, said “significant ore reserves remain underground”.

The planning application said the reopening would involve the creation of 100 construction jobs for a one-year period and 90 jobs when operational.

The mine is projected to have a lifetime of seven to 10 years once it recommences operations. The consultants said that in addition to zinc and lead, small amounts of silver would also be mined.

The submission by Tom Phillips & Associates said “an accessible mineral resource with existing associated infrastructure such as that at the Galmoy mine is rare. There is a recognised global shortage of minerals such as zinc.”

The consultants said the global storage of zinc was causing a knock-on effect on the cost of much-needed building materials.

The proposed mining site is 442 hectares and located 3.5km from the village of Galmoy in Co Kilkenny.

The planning documents said it was anticipated that 310,000 tonnes of ore will be mined annually while 210,000 tonnes of sorted ore annually will be exported from the site.

Plans for the Kilkenny portion of the mine were lodged in July 2021 and IFI has told An Bord Pleanála that the environmental impact of the reopening of mining on receiving surface water bodies had not been adequately addressed by the applicant.

IFI has said these concerns were not put to the applicant in the council’s request for further information.

The IFI has stated that permission “should be overturned pending satisfactory resolution of the concerns documented”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times