Northern Ireland news

Co Tyrone cyanide processing plan scrapped

Dalradian Gold has scrapped plans to use cyanide to remove the precious metal from ore mined in the Sperrin Mountains
Connla Young

Campaigners have vowed to continue their opposition to a gold mine in Co Tyrone after controversial plans for a cyanide processing plant were scrapped.

Canadian firm Dalradian Gold had wanted to open a plant at Greencastle which would use potentially use deadly cyanide to remove the gold from locally mined ore.

Some residents opposed the controversial plan, which was lodged with planners in 2017, on health and environmental grounds.

Dalradian Gold has previously insisted the process is safe, however, in a dramatic change the cyanide plan has now been abandoned.

The mine proposal had faced two separate legal challenges.

In a statement issued yesterday Dalradian confirmed that “no cyanide or smelting will be used”.

“Instead, simplified processing will yield a partially refined product that will receive further treatment overseas”.

Dalradian say mined rock will be crushed underground before ore containing gold is taken to the surface where it will be processed with water ground to the size of sand.

Read More: Eyebrows raised as caravan appears up a tree at goldmine protest site in Co Tyrone

The metals are then separated out in flotation tanks to produce a concentrate, the company says.

This concentrate, which contains gold and other minerals including silver and copper, will then be transported abroad where final processing will take place.

The U-turn came as Dalradian submitted ‘Further Environmental Information’ (FEI) to the Department for Infrastructure.

Dalradian has listed several other environmental measures it hopes to implement including reduced fuel and water usage.

The firm last night said that the FEI addresses requests from authorities for more details “on certain aspects of Dalradian’s planning application and third party applications”.

Dalradian President and CEO Patrick Anderson said the mine “will be immensely beneficial for Co Tyrone and the wider region, creating 1,000 jobs and spending of £750 million locally over 20-25 years”.

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“We recognise that while the economic opportunities are exciting, protecting the landscape and safeguarding the environment are equally, if not more, important,” he said.

“That is why we have made these further enhancements to ensure that Tyrone has a modern, environmentally responsible mine operating to the highest standard.”

Earlier this year Greencastle resident Martin Tracey launched legal action against DfI on human rights grounds.

Mr Tracey last night dismissed the development and said: "The community of Greencastle are not easily fooled and are convinced that the removal of the processing plant is merely temporary and was proposed to offer the Department of Infrastructure cover to facilitate a successful outcome of the mine proposal.

“The community of Greencastle and surrounding areas are convinced that the mine project is inherently dangerous to health and is a disaster waiting to happen in the Sperrin Mountains.”

Mr Tracey said the mine project will continued to be opposed.

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