Northern Ireland news

Locals would welcome gold mine public inquiry

Some local people support a call for a public inquiry into a planned mine in Co Tyrone
Connla Young

Local Gerard Meenan says he would support a public inquiry into the gold mine plan.

His family home sits on the side of a valley almost within sight of the current entrance to the proposed mine near Rousky.

The calm of the rolling landscape cloaks the storm that is brewing just under the blanket of mountain moss that covers much of the area.

Gold fever

Locals have looked on as others gripped by 'gold fever' have come and gone including early prospectors who panned for their fortune in the nearby Owenkillew River.

The first serious attempt to mine for the precious metal was in the 1980s but this was eventually abandoned.

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Then in 2009 Canadian firm Dalradian Gold arrived in Tyrone at the height of the economic downturn and took up were previous attempts had failed.

Mr Meenan, who did not wish to be photographed, said the firm brought employment into the area.

"It was good to get work at that time and was very useful for some boy that did not have a job," he said.

The Tyrone man runs a successful electronics business in Co Tyrone that supplies component parts to companies that manufacture mining equipment and says he is familiar with the industry.

Public inquiry

He, like Dalradian, would welcome a public inquiry into the multi-million pound mine plan.

"That's where you bring your concerns and all opinions and that's where you bring out every issue in total," he said.

"There's a due process and that should be used."

It has recently been claimed that the mine proposals have damaged community relations in the area.

"That public inquiry should take away the divisions in the community and let people have their say," he said.

"There are different opinions, it's a massive project.”

Mr Meenan's family is involved in small scale farming and owns land that runs close to the mine site Dalradian on which “a few” test holes have been dug.

Farmers who allow work to be carried out on their land receive a small trespass payment.

He said that he has no wish to gain from the planned mine.

"Personally I am not going to benefit or looking to benefit from it," he said.

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