Goldmine boosted by permit for expansion
Around 130 people could find jobs at a Co Tyrone goldmine after a mining firm won planning permission for an extension to the site.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan yesterday gave the green light to an extension of Galantas Gold's existing open-cast mine in Cavanacaw, west of Omagh.
Now Canadian firm Galantas, formerly known as Omagh Minerals, said it would be raising new finance to fund the work - and that it was "confident about the establishment of a sound business based on the Omagh gold property".
The firm said that it anticipated there would be 130 people working on the mine with total wages of £4m when it is fully operational.
Galantas, which is led by Ronald Phelps, will now be able to mine for gold, silver and lead for another 15 years following the planning permission.
Mr Durkan said: "This is a real boost in terms of jobs and investment for the Omagh area.
"The proposed operation by Omagh Minerals should help create numerous jobs and secure existing ones at the site. These and the wider benefits the development will bring will help the local economy."
But he said environmental protection would be "paramount".
"The company will be operating within strict compliance parameters. This combination will help achieve my vision of creating a stronger economy, a better environment."
Roland Phelps, president and chief executive of Galantas Gold, said: "This is a significant milestone and a game-changer for Galantas. Our open-pit gold mine, operated until recently, is the only one in Ireland.
"That business will draw upon the excellent engineering infrastructure and skilled, flexible labour pool around Omagh."