Harper to host online meeting about mining concerns

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper is hosting a virtual public meeting on March 11 regarding potential mining across Galloway.

Emma Harper to hear concerns about potential mining in Galloway
Emma Harper to hear concerns about potential mining in Galloway

Ms Harper attended a meeting held by JDH Exploration Ltd in the McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart, to update the public on its potential activities in the region.

JDH, which is owned by Australian mining giant Walkabout Resources, holds licences to explore around 750 sq kilometres near Blackcraig, the mountains west of Dalry and the Pibble Hill area.

It is searching for gold, silver, lead, zinc and nickel, but at this stage has not revealed if anything has been found.

At the meeting its geologists were able to explain how mineral extraction has been, or is being done in other locations to give an idea of what might occur in the future.

However, claimed going into any more specifics would be “speculative” at this stage.

A new orgainsation, the Galloway Mining Action Group, has been set up to represent the communities views and JDH aims to establish a multi-stakeholder community engagement forum.

Ms Harper previously expressed reservations over the potential negative environmental impact of mineral mining across south west Scotland.

During the meeting at McMillan Hall, she emphasised the importance of clear communication with locals on what JDH are and are not doing, and she noted the importance of consultation with local people.

To seek this clarity she has also raised a formal written question of the Scottish Government asking what involvement the Crown Estate Scotland has had with the company, and whether there has been involvement from the Scottish Government.

Ms Harper has also written directly to the Environment Minister to outline the concerns of constituents across Galloway and south west Scotland.

She said: “I was pleased to attend the meeting held by JDH Exploration Ltd and raise the concerns expressed to me by constituents, and I emphasised the importance of local people being involved with, and consulted on, all decisions relating to them.

“To be clear, the Scottish Government have no formal involvement at this stage. The exploration licence has been granted by the Crown Estate Scotland and should any mining go ahead, an application will have to be submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council.

"If the community are then unhappy with the outcome of this decisions, an appeal can be made to the Scottish Government.

“I am aware that there are a number of interest groups, two action groups and individuals who care deeply about the potential of mineral exploration and mining.

“I am therefore holding a virtual public meeting on March 11 for any constituent to make their views known and will circulate the detail of this on my social media sites.”