Updated job creation figures from the company behind a controversial gold mine proposal in Co Tyrone have been queried by an economist in the department dealing with the plans.
A letter from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) economist questions figures from Canadian firm Dalradian about the number of direct and indirect construction jobs it would create.
Residents of Greencastle and surrounding areas are opposed to the mine on environmental grounds. Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has said a public inquiry will be held into the project.
Dalradian says the mine in the Sperrins would contain up to £3bn worth of gold deposits.
The company said the 25-year mine operation will ultimately support 1,000 jobs and provide a £750m boost to the economy.
The consultation response from the economist at DfI, in reaction to new papers filed by Dalradian, said that a document suggested construction spend of £92m - lower than originally thought.
The economist said: "It may well be the case that this smaller spend generates the same number of direct jobs but I would like to see the areas where NI spending has reduced and why there is no net impact on jobs."
However, the economist said the information provided by Dalradian suggested there would be 10 more indirect construction jobs.
"I do understand that this is a complicated area but it is somewhat counter-intuitive to have lower overall NI spend and yet have higher indirect jobs."
The economist also writes that indirect and induced jobs are estimated to reduce "but the overall total is still very significant at a total of 570 jobs compared to the 2017 proposal which estimated 620 jobs".
A spokesman for Dalradian said that it had submitted further environmental information in 2019, which reflected changes to the original 2017 planning application.
"Although this will have no impact on the number of direct employees at the operational mine, the changes would lead to increased capital investment and labour costs during construction, with associated benefits of increased Gross Value Added (GVA) and indirect and induced jobs during construction," he said.
"The project will also now export mineral concentrate (rather than processed material) which will reduce the operational costs, with small reductions in export value and revenue, and a consequent small decrease in indirect jobs during operations."
He added: "As with any application in this stage of planning, this is an ongoing process and Dalradian is continuing to engage with the Department for Infrastructure and the various consultees to provide further understanding of the information submitted.
"In addition to meeting strict environmental standards the project will be a major boost for NI's economy with a £750m supply chain spend over its lifetime."
The Department for Infrastructure could not confirm if the mine's economic contribution would be a focus of the inquiry.