Community Updates & Media Statements

Community Update on the Magheracloone Subsidence Incident – 12.08.2019

Based on the latest results of routine monitoring surveys of Gyproc land, we noted the formation of a surface feature in the Drumgossatt area.

From an initial inspection on Friday, we believed this surface feature could be the formation of a crown hole adjacent to or under a hedge line, and our recent inspections have confirmed this to be the case. As this crown hole is located entirely within Gyproc owned lands and is not close to any private homes, public infrastructure or bordering roads (it is located 280 metres north of the R179), Gyproc is confident it poses no risk or hindrance to the public. Although this development will have no impact on the public, we felt it was important to inform our neighbours.

Arrangements are in place to fence around the feature to prevent access and we will continue to monitor the situation.

We have notified all relevant Governmental and County Council authorities and will continue to monitor and keep them, and you, informed.

Click here to view the full image

Community Update on the Magheracloone Subsidence Incident – 29.06.2019

Dear member of the community,

 

Firstly, thank you again for your continued patience and cooperation throughout this process.  In this update we’re sharing some details of the work done recently related to the L4900.  I also want to ensure you have my contact details if you want to get in touch with me.  My mobile number is 087 259 9238.

 

At the outset can I say that we genuinely and fully appreciate your concerns about the ongoing road closure and I can assure you that everyone is doing their best to get this resolved and ensure the safe re-opening of the L4900. 

 

In terms of the key work done over the past while by Gyproc, the latest updates are:

 

April 2019

  • Gyproc’s report into the crown hole that appeared in December 2018, which was undertaken by the independent consulting firm SRK, was completed and submitted to the relevant authorities and groups.  The work done to complete this report included the drilling of 25 boreholes and analysis of the rock cores to assess the status of the mine workings in the area.

 

May 2019

  • Gyproc representatives met with a group of residents to explain to them the scans and visuals of the underground mine that were part of the SRK report.  This meeting also gave residents the opportunity to ask questions of our technical staff.  If you could not make that meeting or would like to meet us for a briefing like this, please contact me and we will arrange a similar session for you.
  • A drainage survey was proposed, and this was completed in early May 2019.  Some additional drainage works and the installation of the extensometers are planned. Gyproc will fund the entirety of the drainage works and the installation of the extensometers.  Extensometers are devices to monitor the condition of the mine and provide analysis of the mine environment to indicate possible changes.

 

June 2019

  • The provision of temporary facilities for Magheracloone GAA Club is now complete.
  • Given the damage from the original subsidence incident, we do unfortunately have to demolish the GAA Club / Community Centre to ensure the area is safe.  This is quite a complex piece of work and we have almost completed the design of the demolition programme.  We aim to have the demolition works complete by year end, though this is subject to confirmation and may change.
  • We’ve started ground works at Knocknacran quarry to ensure the Gyproc factory at Kingscourt continues to have access to a supply of gypsum rock from within Ireland.
  • In the field opposite O’Rourkes filling station, a temporary stone track has been put in place to facilitate a drill rig. This drill rig will create a borehole which will allow us to continue to reduce the water levels in Drumgossatt old mine workings.

 

In terms of upcoming activity:

  • Monaghan County Council has indicated that, subject to the completion of agreed drainage works and the installation of monitoring equipment, a decision on whether it is safe to reopen the L4900 road will be made within 2 weeks.

 

  • In terms of future mining plans, we are currently starting to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) on the area of the old mine workings to assess the environmental impact of future mining in the area. While this is not a planning application in itself, it does form an important and informative part of the overall planning process. The EIAR scoping report, which describes the issues that will be studied in the EIAR, was submitted to the relevant statutory bodies recently and will be shared with community representatives shortly.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to assure you again that we are committed to doing whatever is necessary to see the safe re-opening of the L4900 road as soon as possible.  I do hope that the above information is useful to you and I can assure you that we are fully committed to supporting the community that we have been part of for over 80 years.

 

Kind regards,

Pat McEnaney

Community Liason Manager

Media statement on the Magheracloone Subsidence Incident – 26.06.2019

Replacement of facilities at Magheracloone GAA Club & Community Centre not in question – Gyproc

  • Gyproc proposal for significantly upgraded facilities discussed before subsidence issue remains preferred option

  • A replacement of the facilities damaged by the subsidence event will still be undertaken if the planned investment does not proceed

Gyproc confirmed today that a replacement of the Magheracloone GAA Club & Community Centre facilities rendered unsafe following a subsidence event last September is not in question.  Gyproc’s commitment to ensure this happens has not waivered and remains in place.

Gyproc also repeated today that its preferred option and plan for the community and GAA facilities formerly used on the site of the Magheracloone GAA Club & Community Centre is a significantly upgraded and state of the art facility at a nearby location.  The proposed upgraded facility was part of discussions before last September’s subsidence and details of this long-term plan have not changed as a result of the subsidence.  The proposals form part of a planned wider investment in the area being considered by Gyproc. 

This upgraded and state of the art facility, pending the wider investment, is Gyproc’s preferred option and would be part of the company’s commitment to the area and community that it has been part of for over 80 years. This investment plan also includes the development, subject to planning permission, of an open cast mine on Gyproc lands, the lands formerly used for the Magheracloone GAA Club & Community Centre, and acquisition by Gyproc of the relevant lands that it does not currently own to facilitate the development of the mine. 

The subsidence event last September has also resulted in Gyproc and people in the community coming together to create a temporary GAA facility which is now in place.

Gyproc reiterates that, if the wider planned investment in the area does not proceed for any reason, the company will fully fund the rebuilding and replacement of the Magheracloone GAA Club & Community Centre facilities which were rendered unsafe following the subsidence incident last September.

Update on the Magheracloone Land Subsidence Event – 11.04.2019

Dear member of the community,

Thank you once again for your continued co-operation throughout this process.  As we continue to make progress, we remain fully committed to providing the community with as much information as we can.  In this update, we are sharing with you the latest information on the work being done on the L4900 road as well as other information which we hope you find helpful.

Drumgossatt mine workings map

As committed to at the first forum meeting, we have included in this updated map providing details on the inner mine workings, and showing the levels of workings within the old drumgossatt mine. If you have any queries on the maps please do make contact with us and we would be happy to meet you to discuss.

Technical update on L4900 study

The following is the update from the technical working group which consists of representatives of Monaghan County Council Engineering Department, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and consultants Wardell Armstrong, the EPA, Gyproc and consulting engineering company SRK.

A very comprehensive examination of the L4900 road has been completed. This study included drilling 25 bore holes (23 along the road) which facilitated the use of specialist cloud & sonar scanning equipment which created a detailed picture of the underground conditions.  SRK consultant engineers have completed a report on the road using the data collected during this examination. This report and the accompanying data was submitted to the authorities in early April as expected. The report and the data will now be considered and analysed by the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment including their consulting mining engineers Wardell Armstrong. The conclusions of this analysis are expected in time for the next stakeholder’s forum meeting on April 29th.

Stakeholder Forum Update

The stakeholder’s forum continues to operate effectively; the last meeting was on April 9th where the SRK report on the L4900 road was reviewed as well as information sharing & updates on the mining operations in the area. The next meeting is scheduled for April 29th.

Magheracloone GAA Club and Community Centre

Discussions with both the GAA Club and the Community Centre continue to take place regularly, and Gyproc continues its commitment to exploring solutions for both organisations.

Land & Water Works

We are pleased to confirm the awarding of the contract to commence the next phase of land stripping at Knocknacran quarry to Wills Bros. Ltd. This is the 2nd stage of the multi-million Euro investment in Knocknacran to ensure continuity of the gypsum supply to our factory at Kingscourt.  The awarding of this contract will mean significant employment during the period of these works. Part of this contract will include the preparation of grounds that may be a suitable future location for a community facility to replace those facilities affected.

We would also like to confirm the appointment of GOLDERS consulting Engineers to oversee the design of the program of works that will involve the demolition of the buildings at the GAA Club / Community centre and the associated groundworks to make the area safe. The intention is to have a contractor on site in the summer. In the meantime, please remember, the area is extremely dangerous, we would ask everyone to respect the security fencing in place, do not enter the area under any circumstances and advise the company promptly of any attempts made to enter the site.

Finally, we are finalising a water management plan which will be submitted to the EPA this week, for their review and approval. This plan will describe how we will minimise our impact on the River Bursk during the drier summer seasons.

Community Liaison Manager activity

Over the last 6 weeks Pat McEnaney has been actively meeting members of the community and local organisations with 35 one to one meetings in this period. Should anyone have any queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact Pat on either community@gyproc.ie or mobile 087 2599238. 

Also remember a text messaging service is in place for anyone who wishes to sign up, and we would encourage you to do so as it allows us to communicate any future relevant updates or information in a timely manner.  To register for the text messaging service please email your full name & mobile number to community@gyproc.ie.  (*Please note that this is an outgoing messaging system only and so, cannot respond or reply to messages received)

Once again, we at Gyproc appreciate your cooperation throughout this process and hope the Stakeholder Forum Group will continue to keep the lines of communication open between all of us in the community.

Drumgossatt mine workings map 11.04.2019

Update on the Drumgossatt mine workings map

Click here to view the map

Community Update on the Magheracloone Subsidence Incident – 08.02.2019

Dear member of the community,

Firstly, thank you once again for your co-operation throughout this process.  As we continue to make progress, we are fully committed to providing the community with as much information as we can.  In this update, we are sharing with you the latest information on the work being done on the L4900 road as well as other information which we hope you find helpful.

Drumgossatt mine border map

As discussed at the first forum meeting, we have included in this update, a fresh and independently assessed map showing the maximum potential border of the mine taking all old maps into account.  Work is continuing now on the next set of maps which will provide information on the inner mine workings which we look forward to sharing with everyone in the community in approximately 9 weeks.

Technical update on L4900 study

The following is the update from the technical working group which consists of representatives of Monaghan County Council Engineering Department, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and consultants Wardell Armstrong, the EPA, Gyproc and consulting engineering company SRK.

There are 4 drilling rigs on site and work is progressing as planned.  12 of the 16 previously agreed boreholes have now been drilled in the investigation of the crown hole and an additional eight agreed locations will be drilled over the next number of weeks.  A number of the boreholes have also been identified for laser scanning to investigate the workings underground. It is expected that all exploratory works will be completed in February including all drilling and laser scanning. The resulting data will then be analysed in March with conclusions and proposals agreed for April. The next technical review meeting is scheduled for February 19th.

Stakeholder Forum Update

As you’ll be aware, the first stakeholder forum meeting has now taken place. The meeting was chaired by Cathaoirleach David Maxwell and in attendance there were representatives from the council, the DCCAE, the EPA, Gyproc and members of the Drumgossatt/Knocknacran Residents Group - who represent 13 residences in the immediate locality. All six local councillors from the Carrickmacross / Castleblaney Municipal District were also present.

The aim of this forum is to facilitate an open discussion on matters of concern for the residents and to share updates on the work in progress. The first meeting was constructive with the group discussing key topics such as the L4900, the maps of the mine, the current one way system in place and general concerns in the community. Updates from the stakeholder’s forum meeting can also be followed on the Facebook page of the “Drumgossatt/Knocknacran Residents Group”.

Magheracloone GAA Club and Community Centre

Discussions with both the GAA Club and the Community Centre continue to take place regularly, and Gyproc continues its commitment to exploring solutions for both organisations.

Appointment of Community Liaison Manager and Future Communications

Pat McEnaney has been appointed as Gyproc’s Community Liaison Manager. Pat’s full time job will be to ensure that concerns in the community are dealt with quickly and as efficiently as possible. Pat can be contacted through community@gyproc.ie or mobile 087 2599238.

Gyproc has also set up a new text messaging service which will allow us to communicate any future relevant updates or information in a timely manner.  To register for the text messaging service please email your full name & mobile number to community@gyproc.ie.  (*Please note that this is an outgoing messaging system only and so, cannot respond or reply to messages received)

Finally

On behalf of Gyproc and in response to a point raised at the first stakeholders forum, a new community defibrillator will be installed at the local Mace Service Station in Magheracloone, with the kind permission and support of Justin O’Rourke.   

If you have any individual questions or concerns and would like to have a face to face meeting with Gyproc, please call Pat McEnaney on 087 2599238 to arrange a suitable day and time.  Once again, we at Gyproc appreciate your cooperation throughout this process and hope the stakeholder forum group will continue to keep the lines of communication open between all of us involved.

Community Update - Drumgossatt Mine Border Map - 08.02.19

Maximum potential Drumgossatt mine border (purple line)

Click here to view the Map

Media Statement regarding EPA Priority Sites Listing - 28.01.2019

Gyproc update regarding water management at Drummond Mine and EPA Priority Sites listing

The EPA has today published its updated priority sites listing which now includes Gyproc.  Gyproc’s presence on the list relates to the ingress of a significant volume of water in June 2018 to the Drummond mine.

Following the subsidence at Magheracloone GAA club in September 2018, the water management plan necessitated the release of naturally occurring ground water with elevated sulphate levels to the river Bursk.  The release of this ground water breached one aspect of Gyproc’s compliance conditions due to the combination of low water flow in the river Bursk and higher than normal volumes of ground water. 

It is important to note that there has been ongoing consultation with the EPA since the event occurred in June and a substantially increased program of monitoring was agreed with the EPA and implemented in September as part of a water management plan.  This program continues to be monitored very closely and Gyproc will continue to engage with the EPA to ensure that there is no negative impact on the local environment.

At all times Gyproc, which has been mining in the area for 80 years, prioritises safety in its management of the water ingress and all other activities. Since the subsidence in September, Gyproc has continued its commitment to the local community and welcomes the establishment of a new forum which includes residents, Monaghan County Council, the EPA and the EMD. 

Media Statement on the Magheracloone Subsidence Incident – 14.01.2019
  • Gyproc apologises for the upset caused and continues to support affected families

  • Gyproc will continue to work with our neighbours of 80 years to resolve concerns

  • Options to fast-track support for GAA Club & Community centre being explored

Subsidence events, including sinkholes* and crown holes*, are known to occur as both a natural phenomenon and as a result of mining activity.  Gyproc fully recognises that while these events are not unusual in the mining of evaporate deposits such as gypsum, they do impact the local community and we apologise to our neighbours of 80 years for the upset caused by road closures and loss of access to facilities.  Gyproc has a long and respected mining history in the area and continues to work with our neighbours and community in a collaborative and transparent manner to resolve any concerns we can. 

Since the subsidence at Magheracloone GAA Club in Co. Monaghan in September 2018 Gyproc has been in repeated contact with Monaghan County Council, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Magheracloone GAA Club & Community Centre, home owners, and community organisations, to provide up-to-date information and support. During this time two separate and independent consulting firms have investigated the subsidence and both firms have reached similar conclusions about the unusual and complex combination of factors that caused the subsidence at Magheracloone GAA Club.

Our primary initial focus was on supporting the families in the five homes that were originally included in the precautionary area of investigation. We have completed the geological studies of any impact of mine workings on those properties and engaged structural engineers to review each dwelling, sharing the outcome of the report with each resident or their representatives.  Following these reports some residents have since returned to their homes while some have chosen not to. Where residents have chosen not to return to their homes, we have continued to support them with alternative accommodation.  We do understand and appreciate the difficulties these families have faced and have met with all parties. Our dedicated family liaison officer also remains in place to continue supporting these families when needed. We are also working to ensure that any claims from these residents are dealt with as quickly as possible.

We are also focused on supporting Magheracloone GAA Club and Community Centre. We are working with both the GAA Club and the Community Centre to support the creation of a new and long-term home in light of the subsidence on the existing club grounds. We are also working closely with the GAA club in the provision of significant funding to support their efforts to open temporary facilities in the next couple of months in time for the opening of the GAA season.  We have been in discussions with both the GAA Club and the Community Centre recently about how we can all work together to fast track the original proposals to acquire the GAA lands and develop new state-of-the-art facilities in a new location.  This proposal is part of a wider strategic investment in the area by Gyproc in excess of €20m.  

In addition to our reporting to the relevant authorities and recognising the concerns of local residents, we have distributed information pamphlets and updates to all residents in the Magheracloone area eircode.  A number of local residents have also availed of the invitation to meet with us directly to discuss any queries or concerns that they have.  

In a separate event, and approximately three months after the subsidence at Magheracloone GAA Club and Community Centre, we notified relevant authorities of the appearance of a separate and unrelated crown hole on our lands on the 19th December 2018.  As we believe this to be a crown hole and thus relates to mining activity, we are currently studying the cause and any potential risks through an extensive program of works agreed with EMD and Monaghan County Council officials. The investigation currently underway involves drilling rigs, consulting engineers and our own mining teams with a focus on completing this work as speedily and comprehensively as possible.

Gyproc’s focus is on supporting the community that we have been part of for over 80 years and we would like to thank our neighbours and the community for their patience and support as we carry out these investigations and works. 

ENDS

*What is a sinkhole and a crown hole?

Sinkholes are a naturally occurring phenomenon where soluble rocks are close to the surface.  Over long periods of time water flowing beneath the surface dissolves the rock forming a series of underground channels and cave systems.  At some point the cave becomes too wide and the roof falls.  This causes the overlying rock to collapse which can result in a sink hole at the surface. These features are common in limestone / chalk areas as well as gypsum and other evaporate deposits.  The size of the feature on the surface is a function of many factors but mainly the depth of the soluble rock from the surface and the characteristics of overlying strata.  Their size and occurrence is almost impossible to predict other than identifying a very large area that is at risk.

Crown holes look very similar in appearance to a sinkhole and are formed in a similar way other than the void into which the overlying rocks fall is the old mine workings.  They occur because the roof of the mine workings has failed (similar to the failure of the roof of a cave in a sinkhole) and this allows the overlying rock to fall into the mine workings.

The key differences are that the areas that are at risk from crown holes is much less extensive than sink holes, covering only the mining areas and these are generally well understood, compared with vast areas where soluble rocks are near the surface.  Furthermore, the engineering characteristics of the mine workings can be evaluated and the risks at specific locations (i.e. public roads etc) can be better understood and mitigated.