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Dalradian says gold quality at mine site 'better than expected'

The company behind controversial plans for a gold mine in Co Tyrone has said the gold within the site is of a higher grade than previously thought.

Dalradian, which wants to build a mine at Curraghinalt near Greencastle, said a new study showed that the quantity of "very high quality ore" had risen from 4.4 million ounces to 6.1 million.

According to Dalradian, the updated mineral resource statement "places Curraghinalt in the top 10% of unmined gold deposits in the world and offers greater resilience to gold price fluctuations as a result".

And it said that the findings may mean that the mine - if it goes ahead - could generate a second phase after an initial 25-year lifespan, "providing sustainable, well-paid jobs in west Tyrone for many decades to come".

Dalradian has said the mine would bring 350 well-paid jobs to the area and generate $1bn over 25 years.

President and chief executive Patrick FN Anderson said the update showed Curraghinalt was "a robust, high-grade gold system that continues to grow as we invest and explore".

He added: "Since we took over the project almost a decade ago we have transformed it from an early stage deposit to one of the best gold projects in the planet."

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Two years ago, the company was in dispute over the payment of an invoice issued by the PSNI over the transport of explosives on the site. However, there was no update from the company or the PSNI.

The plans have attracted controversy over the visual impact on the Sperrins Mountains as well as over the use of explosives.

A planning application for the mine was lodged last year and is still pending.