Proposal for platinum prospecting near Glenarm

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Larne Borough Council has given its support to an application for mineral prospecting rights in parts of the borough – on the condition that disruption to local people is kept to a minimum.

The application for a platinum prospecting licence was lodged with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment by Lonmin (Northern Ireland) Ltd.

The proposed area covers a huge swathe of land that affects parts of the Larne, Ballymena, Ballymoney and Moyle boroughs.

Locally, the application falls within the Cairncastle and Glenarm wards.

The applicant is a subsidiary of Lonmin Plc, the third-largest producer of platinum in the world.

They aim to gather samples of soil and rock to determine where they may be able to drill boreholes to test if mineralisation is present underground.

The data is then lodged with DETI and in time will be made available to students, researchers and farmers.

In its application, Lonmin said it would be reliant on local contractors, which it feels could bring significant economic benefits to the area.

The company also highlighted its “excellent health and safety, and environmental record”.

In its response to the Department, the Larne Council said it “supports development in the borough, bringing economic and social benefits to those who reside and trade locally”.

But the local authority said its support would be subject to assurances that disruption to the local community is minimised, and there is ongoing engagement and communication with key stakeholders in the local area.

Since the application is for prospecting and not extracting, the council noted that the potential for disruption should be minimal.