Video: Dalradian mine chief claims police officers ‘bought shares' in firm
THE head of the company behind a controversial gold mine operation in Co Tyrone told a conference that police officers who deliver explosives to the site have "bought shares" in the firm.
Patrick Anderson, chief executive officer of Dalradian, made the comment during a speech at a Precious Metals Summit in Beavers Creek, Colorado in September.
Last month the company and PSNI both said they have called in lawyers as part of a dispute over security costs on the land in the Sperrin Mountains, near the villages of Greencastle and Gortin.
Speaking about the project, Mr Anderson told the US audience: "We are based both in Toronto and in London. The London listing was... to make the shares of the company more accessible locally.
"We have found that. We have found that the doormen on the hotel we go to bought shares. The police who deliver the explosives bought shares."
In August The Irish News revealed that policing the site had cost almost £500,000 to police in less than a year.
THE PSNI has billed Dalradian for almost £400,000 for escorting explosives but the sum remains unpaid.
A spokeswoman for Dalradian Gold said last week that it understands "no other mining or quarrying operation in Northern Ireland pays for this service".
It added: "Total investment into the project over the lifetime of the mine is expected to be in excess of hundreds of millions of pounds, creating hundreds of jobs in the process."
Some people living in the area are bitterly opposed to the mine and plans to use cyanide at a proposed processing plant because of fears of risk to health and the environment.
Dalradian has insisted the use of cyanide is highly regulated and the plant will minimise impacts on the environment and wildlife.
In his speech, the Dalradian CEO spoke in glowing terms about Northern Ireland, stating that the "jurisdiction has been very supportive".
He said: "I have worked all over the world and I haven't seen this level of engagement (from government).
"We have been active in having town hall meetings... in going house to house. We engage 20 to 30 households a month at least. Knocking on doors and having cups of teas."
Mr Anderson added: "We have had 150 people underground. We have over 250 people on a waiting list to go underground and see what we are doing.... It is getting a groundswell of support."
The company hopes to submit an application for full planning permission before the end of the year and has already injected more than £56m into the project.
Asked about the US speech, a spokeswoman for Dalradian Gold said: "Dalradian has shares listed on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the AIM of the London Stock Exchange. These shares are available to the public to buy and sell as they choose."
A PSNI spokesman said: "We have no knowledge and accordingly no comment to make."