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16 October 2014
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The Ballymoney farmer and lignite.

An Australian mining company has announced they are applying for permission to open a huge open cast lignite mine close to Ballymoney.

County Antrim


Joan Goodwin (nee McConaghy)
I am a McConaghy and my father Stewart McConaghy was born to Daniel and Sarah on a farm outside Ballymoney. There is a strong chance I am connected to the above McConaghys and I am sorry they are living under such stress. The farming community has a hard enough time as it is and they should be encouraged to continue rather than have more obstacles put in front of them. I am shocked that there is the possibility of mining in the area as County Antrim is one of the most beautiful parts of the WORLD!

Nothing is sacred any more.

OzzCazz - Nov '06
The Lignite Controversy has died down as of late but I am going to scare my opinions aw ay...

...It is obvious that the emotions of people living within and near the proposed mining area outside Ballymoney run very high. Especially among those living in country houses. It seems to me that it is these people who are at the forefront of the anti lignite campaign, which understandably so directly jeopardizes their homes and way of life. But i feel this does not give them the right to, in effect, use scare tactics in defence of their believes and concerns. Thus leading to the general public embracing this view point without knowing the facts broadcasted in a genuine and unbiased manor. The situation is further complicated and made worse by the mining company's inability to effectively make their position clear and talk openly to the people of Ballymoney and indeed the rest of Northern Ireland, as i have heard of families from as far a field as Enniskillen jumping on the anti lignite campaign bandwagon. Don't get me wrong i am not pro lignite minning and it is a terrib!
le thought that a project such as this could come to the Ballymoney area. I just believe that it should be looked at rashonially and logically. I Don't think the environmental impacts will be as serious as campaigners make out. Furthermore, and i only mention this because i read it more than one on this website, the mine location is not in an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is isolated on agricultural land miles from such tourist attractions as the Giants Causeway and the likes. i Don't see how this will effect the tourist industry. It might even improve it!! Who knows? All said and anger vented, how can anyone come to a logical and fair conclusion or decision? Can we really afford to stand in the way of progress? Is it fair that many might loose their homes and way of life? NO!!! But surely having our own source of energy and boosting the economy would be a move in the right direction provided Felix and other resulting developments play fairly and keep pollution !
and other cons to a minimum.

My heart says NO TO LIGNITE but my head, YES!

Mini - May '06
Yes, I agree......the McConaghys have lived here for ages, and they deserve to keep their land. It isn't fair that these miners are coming and destroying the future of little Laura McConaghy

Linzi - May '06
My name is linzi. I am 13 years old. we have been studing the disadvantages and advantages of lignite mining. Mostly I think it is a bad idea no one would want to live beside a mine as there would be a lot of smoke it would be especially hard for people with breathing problems. This will decrease the number of animals amd ruin their habitat. Although tourists could take a liking to the mine it will still ruin our countryside and value to peoples homes will decrease, many will move and leave houses abandoned. It might save us some money but if we go forward with this idea we risk both people and animal health, the fumes can also cause Global warming. If I had the choice to go forward with this mine I would say No, I say this because a longer life of a human is more valuable than any sum of money. When you die you dont bring your money with you if we go further with the idea of the lignite mine many will die or suffer.

Siobhain - May '06
My name is Siobhain and im 13 years old and in my geography class i have been studing the lignite mine in Ballymoney. I think the mine would be good for tourists but at the same time bad for farmers. It would be bad for farmers because it would ruin their land and their crops e.g carrots, patatoes, and parsnips. The burning of the Lignite would make toxic pollution and air pollution which would lead to global warming. It would ruin our lifestyle and environment. On the other hand electricty would be cheaper. I think the whole thing is a BAD idea!!!

Amy - May '06
My name is Amy Bell and I am 13 years old. I am not in favour of the lignite mine, for the last past two weeks in my 9B Geography class we have been debating on a lignite mine. Some people have voted yes though i dont think they have considered what really happens when making a lignite mine and a power station. Things like people losing their homes, farms etc. And when the actual mine is made air pollution and noise pollution occurs. The mine would ruin all wildlife habitats, and even though it is good for employment it can be a dangerous area to work in.
I also think it's a bad idea by going through all that trouble to find lignite as when you find it and burn it, it's gone as quick as coal. It may provide electricity when burning, but it is still not as good as renewable . For my conclusion I am not in favour of a lignite mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matthew - May '06
Hello, my name is Matthew. I am 13 years old. In my geography class we have been learning about the advantages/disadvantages of lignite mines. I think we should have lignite mines but not around people. We do need lignite mines for our electricty because we have to bring in our coal from other counties . We also need them for employment there are a lot of people who need jobs to support their families.
I can also see why people dont want the mines because of pollution. But if we didn't have electricity our lifestyles would completely change.

Christopher Magowan - May '06
hello my name is Christopher Magowan i am 13 years old. I have a house in the countryside. I am against the lignite mine because the country is really good because there is no noise or air poullition and i have more space to breath because im not all squashed up in a wee house in towns or citys and there is so much more green and beautiful colours. And although i dont live near where the lignite mine is, it will be a great shame to see all the countryside being destroyed when we can use renewable energy.

Ryan - May '06
I am Ryan and i am 13 years old.I think this is a terrible idea. I go up north every summer.It is beautiful enivronment. I think this will destroy the lifestyle of the animals and their habitats.This could destroy homes for animals and people might have to move away.

The mine would cause noise and air pollution. the air pollution could cause globing warming and we could die in the next 100 or so year. The noise could keep tourist away and N.Irelands beauty.

Tourists could not go up to the Giants Causway etc because of the noise and smoke. I like it up there and it is terrible to see land go to something stupid. I dont like this and i am against it.

Sally - May '06
Well, my name is Sally and I am 13 years old. My views on the lignite mine is that it is a good idea. I think this because we can all save money that can be spent on much more needed stuff. If this was to go forward there would be no more burning coal that causes pollution but burning lignite also causes pollution. By using this idea electricity would be cheaper for every one because there wouldn't be any need for deliveries to come over from foreign countries. So over all i think this is a good idea.

James - May '06
My name is James. I am 13. We have been studing about lignite over the past two weeks in Geography. When we learnt about a lignite mine being planned for Ballymoney. I didn't really care. Once our teacher told us the good and bad ideas I thought it was a bad idea. This could destroy animals homes. The mine would also cause noise and air pollution this will lower the amount of animals and local people by polluting the air. Another problem would be the mine would have a bad effect on tourism. It would make the area look ugly as would the air pollution and it might stop tourists coming. Save the trees!!!!

Lauren - May '06
Hi my name is Lauren age 12 from Newry. We have been studying lignite mining advantages and disadvantages for the past 2 weeks.

There are good and bad points but I am against all of it. I do not think there should be a lignite mine because it will ruin the rural landscape.

The good points are we can join up with the south of Ireland so if we don’t have enough electric we can get some of them and if we have too much we can give them some.

Julia - May '06
My name is Julia, im 13 years old. We have been studying about Lignite Mine in geog class for two weeks and i personaly think it is a bad idea. We have looked at advantages and disadvantages involved with this project. There are some advantages in this project , like it will provide people with jobs, but at the same time it will cause air and noise pollution, which is quite bad already. The mine will also ruin the natural beauty of the area and could inpact tourism. I think people that live close to where the mine could be build wouldnt be too happy, becouse it will ruin their environment and they will have to wake up with terrible noise every day. Lignite Mine is a very bad idea!!!

Colum - May '06
My name is Colum and i am aged 13 . We have been studying lignite mining for the last few weeks now and i heard that a lignite mine is getting built in ballymoney. I think this is dreadful. I have seen how it can help but there are more bad points than good points . So far we have looked at the advantages and the disadvantages because we are studying 'economic activity'. If this goes on the prices of coal will decrease and people will be able to get more jobs. But the noises will drive people away and it will also affect tourism. Then again the workers at the lignite mine may want to give tours of the mine. The fumes from the mine may cause Global warming and it will affect the enviorment in a way that most wildlife will die. I think this is dreadful and dont want this to go ahead. The environment is precious to me and i cannot risk it being destroyed.

Beki - May '06
My name is Beki I am 13. For the past few weeks I have ben looking at the affects of a lignite mine and how it can change the environment around it. My veiws on the lignite mine that might be built in Ballymoney are that it could cause air pollution and even have an effect on Global Warming. The people in the area and the people working in the mine would breath in the fumes that would cause Cancer. It will effect the Environment like plants having to be pulled up and animals homes being destroyed. The people who want the lignite mine are wrong because you could use coal, because it burns better and slower or renewable energy like wind.

Peter - April '06
My name is Peter and i am 13 years old. Over the last few weeks i have been learning about lignite mining in Geography class. I was told that there was a mining planned for Ballymoney. I think it is a good idea because you can get coal and peat from under the ground were they are working so you can save money and energy just by using coal and peat.

I also think it is a bad idea because if there is a house near by you could not get to sleep because of the noise.

The last reason it is a bad idea is because it is the pollution and the noise of machines and the smoke of the machines.

Marie - April '06
My name is Marie and I am 13 years old. Over the last few weeks I have been learning about lignite mining in geography class. I was told that there is a mine planned for Ballymoney. I think this is a bad idea. I think it is a bad idea because it will take away the animals and crops homes. I also think it is a good idea because it will make jobs and electrify. People will have more money and and a cheaper electrify. The last reason it is a bad idea because the noise of machines and the smoke and bad health.

Ryan - April '06
My name is Ryan and I am 13 years old. Over the last few weeks I have been learning about lignite mining in Geography class. I was told that there is a mine planned for Ballymoney. I think this is a BAD idea.

I think it is a bad idea because it would affect the people who are working in the mine it is noisy and bad for health.

Michelle - April '06
My name is Michelle and i am 13 years old.Over the last few weeks i have been learning about the lignite mining in my geo class. I was told that there is a mine planned for Ballymonney.I think this a bad idea!!!

I think it is a bad idea because there will be lots of noise and will ruin the peace and quite. All because of the noise of the machines.

I also think it is a bad idea because there will be far to much pollution in the air and will affect alot of animals!!! And my last reason it is bad because it will turn away all the tourists because of all the noise and the pollution!!!!!!!:)

Kenny Reay - April '06
My name is kenny and i am thirteen years old. Over the last few weeks i have been learning about lignite mining in geography class. I was told that there is a mine planned for Ballymoney. I think this is a bad idea.

Paul - April '06
My name is paul and i am 13 years old. Over the last few weeks i have been learning about lignite mining in geography class. I was told that there is a mine planned for ballymoney. I think this is a bad idea. I think it is a bad idea because it is going to ruin animals habitat such as foxes, badgers and birds of prey. I also think it is a bad idea because of pollution caused by the noise and the smoke coming out of the machines. It is also bad for peoples health. The last reason i think it is a bad idea is because it will be bad for tourism. People won't want to to come to this beautiful area if there is a mine in it.

Maria - April '06
My name is Maria and i am 13 years old. Over the last few weeks i have been learning about lignite mining in geography class. I was told that there is a mine planned for Ballymoney. I think this is a bad idea.

I think it is a bad idea because of the amount of noise there will be so it will be bad for the people that live there. I think it is a bad idea because of the tourists will not want to come here with all the noise and it will not look at all nice.

The last reason it is a bad idea is because it will wreck some of the animals habitats and also if some people have a farm it will also destroyed.

Matthew Jandura - April '06
My name is Matthew and I am 13 years old. Over the last few weeks I have been learning about lignite mining in geography class. I wos told that there is a mine planned for ballymoney. I think this is a bad idea.

I thing it is a bad idea because it would destroy our lifestyles and ruin our beautiful environment and natural resources.

It is also a bad idea is because I am also opposed to the lignite mine in ballymoney because some big shot Australian company can come over here and change people's lives.

Danielle - April '06
My name is danielle and i am 12 years old. Over the last few weeks i have been learning about lignite mining in geography class. I was told that there is a mine planned for ballymoney. I think this is a good idea because the ledges will provide a place for birds of prey to live. I also think it is a good idea because there will be more jobs created in Northern Ireland. The last reason it is a good idea is because it will provide cheaper electricity for people in northern ireland.

Robert - April '06
My name is robert and i am 13 years old.Over the last few weeks we have been learning about lignite mining in Geography class i was told that there is a mine planned for ballymoney i think this is a bad idea.

I think this is a bad idea because the animals get scared or they could die with the noise and pollution in the air.

I think it is a bad idea because it smells and it will cause pollution in the air.

It might be a good idea because it can give you tourism and more money and give you more jobs and gives you more electricity

Tadas - April '06
my name is tadas and im 13 years old. over the last few weeks i have been learning about lignite mining in my geography class. i was told that there is a mine planed for ballymoney. i think this is a good idea.
I think its a good idea because-The electricity will be cheaper

I also think its a good idea because- there will be more jobs for other people

The last reason it is a good idea because- The lignite mine could attract some tourists because they might want to see the mine working.

Tina - Feb '06
The idea that this mine will bring cheaper electricity to our country is ludicrous. They will sell the electricity to the highest bidder!!!! And believe me that wont be NI, and as for jobs created in the area, they will have their own skilled teams brought in. The thought of this mine is already tearing family's apart. Some are processing emigration forms already. I live very near to the perimeter of the proposed mine area, and a lot of people in Northern Ireland think that if they live in the likes of Ballymena, Belfast etc, this will not affect them too - They are strongly mistaken!!! As far as I can see the families in this area (and the whole country if they only knew it) - many of whom have properties handed down to them through generations - have only only one option GO NOW or live with either a lignite mine or the not too far away NUCLEAR power stations that are on the cards, and one is bound to be situated in NI, as we always seem to be indispensable.

Alister - Dec '05
The mine would ruin our lives in North Antrim! and sure the fumes from the power station affects the whole of Northern Ireland, and parts of the Republic. I also think this topic should be more widely televised. I advise another edition of Spotlight to investigate this, or put the topic on Nolan Live on BBC 1 NI. Maybe if we all unite, no matter what creed or colour. It's our home and we don't want anyone to interfere. We should stand up against this.

Keith (Salisbury) - Dec '05
I don't quite understand why people are so against it after all it will create local jobs, which I believe is always a good thing. Also northern Ireland will not be dependent on foreign countries for gas such as eu and russia, at exorbiant pricesWherever Northern ireland gets it power from there will be an eviromental effect. It's time to get real.

Jamie Tweed - Nov 05
I think it is a terrible idea. It would destroy our lifestyles and ruin our beautiful environment!

Charlotte - July '05
My family own a house in the proposed lignite area. I am completely disgusted at the fact this beautiful landscape is going to be destroyed.

David - July '05
If there is a health risk to the inhabitants of the area where minining will take place, what legal redress might they have against a government agency which disregards its duty of care?

Victoria - June '05
I'm also opposed to the lignite mine in Ballymoney, it's not fair that some bigshot Australian company can come over here and change people's lives for the worse. They have no right.

Jim Akers, Australia - March 05
All forms of coal, coking coal, PCI coal, thermal coal, sub-bitumous coals and lignite have risen by up to 150% in the last two years, mainly due to demand from China, and to a lesser extent other parts of Asia including Japan.

Felix Resources ( formerly Auiron Energy ) have grown rapidly after the merger with White Mining, their capitalisation will rise to around £220 million from £15 million two years ago. Felix are the company involved in seeking to mine Lignite from near Ballymoney - a much changed outfit, information at :-

In about 2.5 years time the subject of developing the Ballymoney Lignite Mine will come up again. This time, if prices hold, profits from the proposed venture will be enormous. Banks are now falling over themselves to lend money to anything that has the name mining written on it.

The good people of Ballymoney will have a more difficult decision to make in 2007/8.

Zoe (13) - February
I have recently been studying this topic in my Geography lesson, because we are studying "economic activity" we have looked at both the advantages and disadvantages involved with this project. If this goes ahead the price of coal will decrease and there will be more jobs available, but the mining will cause noise and it will not be pretty to look at. So we must ask ourselves what really counts, the price of our coal or the homes and farms that will be lost?

Phil - December '04
Has anyone ever heard the phrase "Not in my back yard"? The proposed mine and power station will provide Northern Ireland with a dependable source of electricity for the next 30 years. It is essential that we grasp this opportunity.

Electricity generation in the province depends mainly on gas supplied by other countries at ever increasing prices. This can only have one effect on our electricity prices.

We should get over our romantic hang-ups and realise that everyone uses electricity and it has to come from somewhere. We can't ignore the fact that this is potentially the most valuable resource in Northern Ireland's history.

Edith - July 2004
As a local artist, born in Ballymoney and living in Ballycastle, I am horrified at the idea of open lignite mining in such an area of outstanding natural beauty. This cannot be allowed to go ahead and we must all stand up and vote NO. If we all speak with one voice, we will be heard, so come on everyone....speak up!

Jim Akers - June 2004
Just to update everyone on the situation concerning the owners of Ballymoney Power. Felix Resources (FLX) (formerly Auiron Energy ) are quoted only on the Australian Stock Exchange, their shareprice is 10 cents a share, that capitalises the company at about £24 million. (RMM are 47.86% shareholders in Felix with options to raise this to 58% within 4 years.)

It can be seen that Felix are only a small company and are likely to have only a small interest in any venture at Ballymoney, should it go ahead.

Felix are only really interested in their coal mining ventures in Queensland called Yarrabee and Minerva. These mines produce PCI coal for which there is a strong market. Any available cash is needed to add to their profitable Yarrabee mine and further develop their recently purchased Minerva tenement.

Felix have given up their tenements in the Arckaringa coalfields of Southern Australia. The Phillipson tenements have now been sold in an option and royalty agreement with Flinders Power Pty. This leaves them with just the Hawkes Nest Iron Ore tenements which are of low grade iron ore (about 4% is high grade).
The only other interest is a 21.5% holding in ADC which has to do with the left overs of the failed Pig Iron venture.

So there is no need for anyone at Ballymoney to fear Felix Resources. The only problem for those who do not want a lignite mine is planning permission being given and a large company coming in and building a Power Station.

More likely Felix would like to get out of this situation in Ballymoney and just retain a royalty agreement or more likely a lump sum to cover their big losses on the project so far.

Felix need cash to buy more coal ventures in Queensland. The Board of Directors are all situated at the Brisbane Head Office. The MD of Felix Mr Jon Parker is responsible for Ballymoney Power. Felix Resources address is Level 8, 260 Queen Street, Brisbane QLD 4000. Australia. The Company Secretary is Mr Ian McCauley.

To go on further, obviously Ballymoney is not a mining town as many are in Australia. In fact towns such as Whyalla in South Australia were born up from the mining of metals etc., by BHP Billiton. These towns have the upside in the number of people employed by the mining companies, infact OneSteel of Whyalla produced all the rail track for the rail extension from Alice Springs to Darwin.

So there are some upsides in any mining situation. There are the downsides as the town of Hummock Hill was covered in red iron ore dust for many years from an iron ore pellet plant until it was forced to put in new equipment.

Sometimes the downside can be overdone by the inhabitants of an area and the upside overdone by the companies out to make profits.

Ballymoney Lignite is the best in Europe with low ash and sulphur. Quite right you can say to me, decaffinated coffee still has some caffeine and what sulphur and ash there is can do no good. Further thoughts are that no one wants a mine, motorway or airport near them. So further thoughts as to whether this is a no lignite mine on that basis or whether it is better for the whole of Northern Ireland to have one.

The facts are that there is 0.13% sulphur in Ballymoney Lignite, moisture levels are very low. The defined lignite deposit is 13.8 square kilometres and contains 660 million tonnes ( measured and indicated ) of lignite resource. The cumalative mineable thickness is 6.8 metres, north east portion of the deposit ranges from 10 to 76.8 metres. In this area a measured lignite resource of 139 million tonnes could be mined with waste to lignite ratio averaging 2.7:1 ( bcm waste/tonne of product lignite.)

Felix Resources have indicated they have renewed their Ballymoney mining leases, due for renewal in June 2004.

What ever happens there is nothing in the shareprice of Felix Resources shares for any likely mine at Ballymoney.

I wish everyone at Ballymoney my good wishes and hope everything works out well in the future.

Brad Smith - May '04
My grandfather, Alexander McConaghy, left the Co. Antrim village of Lisnagunogue in 1866 to settle in Australia. The family were small farmers on the local estate and emigrated to improve their fortunes in the New World. The old letters I've read from the time show how much they missed the beautiful Antrim landscape.

I think it's very ironic that Australians are returning to Antrim to ruin its landscape and heritage. I'm worried for the McConaghys that stayed in Ireland and wish them well in their efforts to ward off this threat. I hope they succeed.

Dr. Christine Liddell May '04
There is more information available for people interested in this issue at :
The site is hosted by the Just Say No To Lignite Campaign Group.
E-mail enquiries can be sent to : -

J - 4 May 2004
I was just wondering if anyone could give me any information about the effects the lignite mine would have on health. It's for an assignment I have for college. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks

Mark McConaghie (14) - April '04
I live on the lignite farm with 200 acres. I am at school but I worry about the gases made when mining. Hope it doenst go ahead.

your place and mine contributor:
I have heard of the extremely harmful consequences of lignite mining on environment and health. It seems that some people will be practically evicted from their land, others will have to continue to live in the area with diminished quality of life and health risks. How can the land be handed back to the farmers in the same state it is now? What are they to do in the meantime? Many houses will have been demolished? Can't anyone DO something to stop this before it is too late?

your place and mine contributor:
This highlights the sad state of affairs which the country is in, to even contemplate such a mine. IT MUST BE STOPPED. That beautiful part of the province cannot be dessimated for the greed and financial well being of those in far off lands.

Where are these jobs and of what quality will they be? My research of other similar mines (in Germany) highlights that relatively few jobs will be created, or at least not for those in NI. I also note that in Germany they are trying to shut down Lignite mines due to the pollution they create ie. dust travelling for dozens of miles, noise and most worringly pollutants, or the invisible health threats. For the sake of the whole province lets get this stopped. But how?

Should the Government be contemplating an energy tax based upon Environmental friendliness?

I am against the Lignite mine, However, I have heard numerous people say it will have an adverse effect on local tourism. But surely, if the mine operators put up a viewing platform overlooking this huge hole, to enable the people to watch the excavators and conveyor belts at work, it might possibly bring in more tourists. I can imagine it becoming part of the coach tours' itinerary. Visit the Giant's Causeway then watch the mine working on the way home.

When will the people of Ireland waken up to this possible disaster. This is not just a mine but it is also a powerstation which will burn 6 million tonnes of lignite per year. This will produce about 6 million tonnes of co2 & 1 million tonnes of ash as well as many other toxins. The thought that this project will in any way benefit the tourist industry is beyond belief,it will destroy it. If the mine & powerstation are built many people like the McConaghys will be put out of their homes and farms. Ballymoney does not need or want a mine or powerstation. You can get more information from a web site

John Stewart in London:
The plan to build an open cast mine in this area of Northern Ireland is shocking and puzzling. I grew up just outside the town of Ballymoney, close to where the proposed mine is to be built. The area is noted for its rural landscape and unspoiled environment. To build an open cast mine here would bring widespread pollution and environmental devastation on much too great a scale for the plan to be justified.

With all the obvious opportunity for renewal energy in Northern Ireland, (wind and sea), not only is the choice of lignite mining environmentally disastrous, it is wholly unnecessary.

Sarah McConaghy, age 12 from Ballymoney.
I live about half a mile from the proposed site of the lignite mine. If the application for the mine is accepted then my daddy, a farmer, will not be able to graze his cattle and sheep anywhere near our home. Lignite fumes are also terribly bad for human and animal health. I really hope the mine never comes as it will affect people as far away as Scotland! This will destroy Ballymoney's beautiful, rural landscape, it will give off many fumes adding greatly to the problem of global warming and thousands of God's creatures will either lose their homes or be killed! So if you ever see your chance to put in a vote against lignite; use it!


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