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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (*Please note that this is an outgoing messaging system only and so, cannot respond or reply to messages received)
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.
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.
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.
*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.