Northern Ireland news

Complaint made about Tyrone gold mine application

Anti-mining campaigner Cormac McAleer has lodged a complaint with the Department for Infrastructure about plans for a gold mine at Greencastle, Co Tyrone
Connla Young

OPPONENTS of a proposed gold mine in the Sperrin Mountains have lodged a complaint with planning chiefs after an application for the controversial project was lodged this week.

Canadian firm Dalradian Gold wants to develop a mine near Greencastle, Co Tyrone, saying it has "one of the best gold deposits on the planet".

Concerns have been raised about the planned use of the hazardous chemical cyanide to remove the precious metal from ore.

Dalradian insists the process is safe and when operational the mine will sustain around 350 jobs and involve an investment of around £750 million over its lifetime.

Campaigners say they made a formal complaint to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) based on the belief that a “pre-consultation process” by Dalradian was not properly carried out.

The complaint has been made on behalf of three local groups, Save Our Sperrins, Greencastle Community Voices and Communities Against Mining.

Spokesman Cormac McAleer said people want more information about the project.

“Many in the Greencastle community and beyond are of the belief that meaningful information was not made available to the impacted community by Dalradian Gold NI, in particular the probability of harmful toxins being used and created in the processing systems and waste mountain,” she said.

“The community want Dalradian Gold to come back to the community and do a fit and proper pre-consultation process.”

Mr McAleer said that “should the DfI not take the corrective action in refusing to accept” the planning application, legal action may be taken.

The department confirmed it has received a complaint.

"The department has received a planning application from Dalradian accompanied by an environmental statement. The department will now begin processing the application.”

The planning application comes after Sinn Féin members passed a motion at the party's ard fheis opposing the granting of permission for the private mining of precious metals in Ireland.

Dalradian has said it has held more than 40 meetings with government regulators and consultation sessions attended by more than 270 people.

Chief executive Patrick Anderson also said this week "we fully expect and encourage a public inquiry where we can talk openly about what we propose to do and hear the concerns that will be aired".

“We're building a safe project,” he said.

“Everything that leaves the plant will be safe, there's no cyanide that will be outside the confines of the plant.”

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