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Volume 114: debated on Monday 6 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what studies have been carried out into the amount of reserves of lignite in Northern Ireland.

Under a prospecting licence granted by the Department of Economic Development originally in 1978 a subsidiary of Burnett & Hallamshire plc established that there were significant reserves of lignite near Crumlin. In 1983, the Department commissioned a programme of shallow drilling and discovered further substantial reserves of lignite in East Tyrone, and around Ballymoney. Exploration work, including further drilling, to determine the size of these reserves has been carried out under licence during 1986 by BP Coal Ltd Meekatharra Minerals (NI) Ltd and subsidiary companies of Anglo United.