Canadian company behind £750m Co Tyrone gold mine project agrees takeover

An image of the proposed gold mine in Co Tyrone
Gareth McKeown

THE Canadian company behind a proposed £750 million gold mine in Co Tyrone has agreed an estimated £249m takeover by a private equity firm.

Dalradian Resources, behind the controversial Curraghinalt project, has confirmed the sale of outstanding shares in the company to an affiliate of Canadian mining firm Orion Mine Finance, who already hold a 20.4 per cent stake. The deal will see Dalradian change from a public to a private company, with Canadian mining firm Osisko Gold Royalties remaining a shareholder. Dalradian is currently listed on on the AIM (Altnerative Investment Market), a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange and the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange). It is expected that Dalradian shares will be delisted from both in the coming months.

Orion chief investment officer, Oskar Lewnowski said the group is "very pleased" to expand its ownership in "one of the world's best undeveloped gold deposits"

"The Dalradian team has done an outstanding job of growing the deposit and advancing it through the feasibility stage. We look forward to working with the core Dalradian management team to secure planning permission for a world class mine using best-in-class mining, processing and environmental standards," he said.

Dalradian Resources lodged plans for the west Tyrone gold mine last November and has said $1 billion (£750m) is to be spent building and operating the mine over the lifetime of the project (25 years).

The company has also stated that more than 1,000 jobs could be created through direct employment, construction and in sectors such as hospitality as a result of the development.

The plans have faced opposition though, with local residents expressing concerns over the potential environmental impact of the mine, including the use of cyanide to remove the metal from the ore. A High Court challenge to the project had been due to be heard earlier this week, but now has been delayed until after the summer. It is one of two judicial reviews challenging the proposed gold mine and processing facility.

The company has said the new ownership arrangements will not affect day to day running of Dalradian, who remain focused on securing planning permission and building "one of the world's top gold mines".

CEO of Dalradian, Patrick Anderson added: "Orion and Osisko are showing great confidence in Northern Ireland, our high grade Curraghinalt project and our West Tyrone workforce. Their goals as strategic investors are completely aligned with ours – to secure planning permission for an underground gold mine and continue advancing the project in a way that benefits all our stakeholders. We will continue to work closely with community members, all levels of government, employees, contractors and local suppliers toward building one of the world's top gold mines.”

Speaking earlier this year Mr Anderson said he hopes a public inquiry into the Co Tyrone gold mine, required due to the scale of the project, will begin later this year.

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