Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Salt mine's extension to create 10 jobs

Evironment Minister Edwin Poots
Edwin Poots announced the plans had been improved

Ten jobs are to be created after the approval of plans to extend Northern Ireland's only salt mine, Environment Minister Edwin Poots has said.

The mine, near Carrickfergus, is the only site producing rock salt for gritting roads in the whole of Ireland.

It is being extended by almost 279 hectares, the equivalent of 340 international football pitches.

Current salt reserves are set to run out in 2012 and the extension will provide a further 30 years' supply.

The site for the extension is north east of Carrickfergus and south west of the village of Ballycarry.

The mine is one of only three in the British Isles.

Mr Poots said: "Irish Salt Mining and Exploration (ISME) makes a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.

"With this approval we have secured the positions of its 54 full-time employees and up to 10 new jobs, together with a large number of companies and people involved in the supply and maintenance of this industry."

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