Limerick City and County Council has granted permission for the blasting of 670,000 tonnes of rock on the premises of the Aughinish Alumina plant beside the Shannon Estuary.
Permission has been granted to Rusal – the Russian company that owns the plant – subject to 10 conditions, including the need to seek a review of their EPA licence to include the planned rock blasting.
The rock is set to be used for the perimeter containment of a large open-air deposition site for bauxite waste from the company’s alumina refinery.
Alumina is extracted from bauxite and then exported for processing to aluminium metal. The left-over bauxite waste, which looks like red mud, is highly alkaline.
Over the past decade, the EPA has received numerous complaints from locals alleging that dust from the deposition sites has led to health problems for both animals and humans.