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£130m spent so far by firm behind controversial gold mine in Tyrone

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Benefits: Patrick FN Anderson

Benefits: Patrick FN Anderson

Benefits: Patrick FN Anderson

The Canadian company behind a controversial proposed gold mine in Co Tyrone has said it's invested £130m since work began 10 years ago.

Dalradian said it had also used 400 suppliers from Northern Ireland during the decade-long period of exploratory work for a gold, silver and copper mine at Curraghinalt, near Greencastle.

It has also stated that the mine, if and when operational, would ultimately support 1,000 jobs and generate £750m in new business for suppliers over its lifetime of 20 to 25 years.

However, the project has been bitterly opposed by environmentalists and people living in the area, who fear it will spoil the scenic beauty of the Sperrins and damage the environment.

Opponents had also argued against the potential use of cyanide on the site. However, Dalradian has since undertaken not to use cyanide. But opposition continues, with protesters stationed in caravans forming the Greencastle People's Office in the Sperrins.

Its planning application, including an environmental impact assessment, is now being considered.

Dalradian said it had completed environmental, geological, engineering and economic studies of the site.

Over the 10 years the firm said it had also directly employed around 200 people and bought goods and services from over 400 local suppliers including from 50 small firms in the nearby villages of Greencastle, Gortin and Rouskey.

A community fund set up by Dalradian had also provided over £500,000 to 320 local groups.

Patrick FN Anderson, Dalradian's president and chief executive, said: "Since 2010 we've provided around 200 people with employment and have started developing the skills to help local workers fill future operational jobs at the mine. We also listened to feedback from the planning process and made a number of design changes, including removing the proposed use of cyanide and committing to be Europe's first carbon-neutral mine.

"Tyrone has already benefited from the project through local employment, supply contracts and support for community programmes, but this is just the beginning."

He said that over 2,000 people had contacted the firm about a mining career.

Dalradian submitted its planning application in November 2017. It has also said it supports a public inquiry "as a further level of independent review".

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