Belfast Telegraph

No use of cyanide, vows firm behind controversial Tyrone goldmine plan

A residents group has secured permission to mount a High Court challenge over a planned gold mine in Co Tyrone.
A residents group has secured permission to mount a High Court challenge over a planned gold mine in Co Tyrone.
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Mining company Dalradian has submitted new environmental information about its controversial goldmine plans for Co Tyrone, saying it will not use cyanide in the process.

The Canadian company said it was giving the information including "environmental enhancements" following feedback given during the planning process for the gold and silver mine at Curraghinalt near Greencastle.

It said it would aim to minimise the impact on the environment by using "the latest modern sorting technology".

One of the most controversial aspects of the proposals was the potential to use cyanide in extraction, but in its statement yesterday the company said it will no longer be using cyanide in its Northern Ireland operation.

Instead, it said it would carry out simplified processing in Northern Ireland, leading to a partially refined product which would be further treated overseas.

It's also said the project will be carbon-neutral, as it would use renewable power, electric vehicles, covered conveyor belts and biodiesel. Those measures would reduce fuel usage by 25%, or approximately 1 million litres per year, the company said.

The plans have attracted objections from many residential groups, based on the mine's potential environmental impact.

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Patrick F.N. Anderson, president and chief executive of Dalradian, said: "The mine will be immensely beneficial for Co Tyrone and the wider region, creating 1,000 jobs and spending of £750m locally over 20-25 years.

"We will be investing in training and working with local colleges to make sure that it is the local people who benefit most from the long-term jobs and opportunity that this project will create.

"Given the scale of the project, it has met with a very high level of interest and comment. We have listened carefully to the feedback we've received from those who have actively engaged with us.

"We recognise that while the economic opportunities are exciting, protecting the landscape and safeguarding the environment are equally, if not more, important. That is why we have made these further enhancements to ensure that Tyrone has a modern, environmentally responsible mine operating to the highest standard."

Dalradian began work on a potential gold mine in Co Tyrone 10 years ago, and said it had invested £115m over the 10 years on environmental, geological and engineering studies.

Those investigations had led to a 10-fold growth in the resource to 6.1 million ounces, Dalradian said.

It submitted a 10,000-page planning application for the mine in 2017.

Belfast Telegraph