Clean Air & Water
Water leaving the mine is routinely monitored by regulating agencies and an outside environmental monitoring contractor to the mine. The water passes through settlement ponds to ensure it is clear of suspended solids. Samples are tested for a wide range of criteria and pass metals drinking water standards. Waters leaving the mine site are routinely of far better quality and contain less metals and sediment than neighboring streams. When mine water enters local streams this leads to improvement in water quality.
Aside from routine monitoring of mine water, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has carried out three intensive studies of mine water. They were designed as a compliance check applying to groundwaters and surface waters from the mine site. The checks confirmed complete compliance. Reports were published in September 2011 and June 2013. Since those studies, in July 2014 and July 2015, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency confirmed that 2013 and 2014 were also years of satisfactory compliance with its strict regulatory standards for out-flow waters. The Company has also received a report from Northern Ireland Environment Agency of a detailed monitoring study carried out in the last quarter of 2017. In summary, the report concluded, as the Company expected, that there is no evidence that activities at the mine site are having a detrimental effect on the chemical quality of the groundwater around the site or of the Kerr Burn.
Monitoring continues and compliance is confirmed by that monitoring.
Dust levels are routinely monitored to ensure guidelines are observed and are at very low levels. As in all modern open pit mines, the control of dust is an important part of operations. The climate of the location, with rainfall of 1600-1800mm per year means that artificial watering is only occasionally required.