We have an industry that could become the envy of the world
Our quarrying and sand and gravel industry has been providing jobs and essential materials for many years and many companies operating in and around the Sperrins are well known names.
It is also worth noting that a number of the companies have been and continue to work with and support community groups and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on restoration projects and work to protect and enhance biodiversity.
Ireland has a long heritage of mining and continues to make an important contribution to the economy, north and south.
I have no doubt that with better understanding, community support and insistence on world class operational requirements we could have a mining and quarrying industry in Northern Ireland that would be the envy of the world, create hundreds of well paid jobs and make an enormous contribution to the financial pot the Executive and Assembly has to invest in local communities, health, education and infrastructure.
QPANI has highlighted the significant economic benefit that a successful planning application and future operating gold mine in the Sperrins would bring, not just to the north west, but the whole of Northern Ireland. Dalradian's project represents a great opportunity for Tyrone, a county with a strong history of mineral extraction, manufacturing and engineering. Some of the world's leading mineral and construction material handling equipment manufacturers are based in Tyrone and a gold mine in the county is a great fit for the skills, know-how and experience that exist there.
I am sure that building on that collective experience, Dalradian's gold mine will be a major boost to the economy in Tyrone and indeed for the whole of the west of the Bann.
Gordon Best is chairman of the Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland