Dalradian claims £130m invested during past decade as goldmine objections pass 34,000 mark

Underground at the Dalradian operation at Curraghinalt, near Greencastle, Co Tyrone. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Underground at the Dalradian operation at Curraghinalt, near Greencastle, Co Tyrone. Picture by Hugh Russell.

CANADIAN goldmine firm Dalradian claims to have invested £130 million in the north since it set up in Co Tyrone 10 years ago.

The company is behind one of the most controversial planning applications in the history of Northern Ireland.

To date, just over 34,000 objections have been registered in respect of its proposal for an underground gold, silver and copper mine near Greencastle in Co Tyrone.

Just under 4,000 messages of support have been registered with the planning service for its bid, which includes a controversial processing plant on the outskirts of the village in the Sperrins foothills region.

The application is currently making its way through the planning system.

Despite strong community opposition to its plans, Dalradian has long made the economic case for its investment in West Tyrone.

The company says it has provided direct employment to around 200 people and purchased goods and services from more than 400 Northern Ireland-based suppliers, including over 50 small businesses from the villages surrounding the Curraghinalt mine: Greencastle, Rouskey and Gortin

The Canadian firm also claims that its ‘Tyrone Fund’ has provided £500,000 to 320 groups in the communities surrounding its mine site.

Dalradian chief executive Patrick Anderson, said: “When operational, it’s projected that Dalradian will support 1,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, and generate £750m in new business for suppliers over its lifespan.

“Over 2,000 people have contacted the firm directly to express an interest in a mining career and we have begun a multi-million pound training programme to ensure that over 90 per cent of our employees are locally based. We also plan to run supplier workshops to empower local businesses to qualify as our suppliers and expand their revenues and capacity.”

But independent councillor Emmet McAleer, who was elected onto Fermanagh and Omagh District Council last year on the back of the anti-goldmine campaign, has described the level opposition to the Dalradian project as “unprecedented”.

He said the number of objections had doubled since August 2019.

“The number of objections continues to increase on a daily basis as more and more people learn of the health and environmental risks of gold mining,” he told the Tyrone Constitution.”