Canadian company submits application for underground gold mine
A Canadian company hoping to dig for gold in a new underground mine in Northern Ireland has formally submitted its planning application.
Dalradian claims the development in the Sperrins area of Co Tyrone would create 350 jobs if given the green light.
The project has proved controversial and divided opinion in the area.
Environmental protesters have campaigned against it, but other local people are supportive - citing the job potential and the impact of a community fund established by the firm.
Two mining finance groups have promised backing of around £46 million if planning and regulatory approvals are granted.
Dalradian said, if approved, a total of £750 million would be spent in constructing and operating the mine in the 25 years covered by the planning application .
An initial exploration project at the Curraghinalt site near Gortin, which currently supports more than 100 jobs, has identified millions of ounces of gold.
Dalradian chief executive Patrick Anderson said: "This is an exciting day for Dalradian and for Northern Ireland.
"We have transformed the project from a small, early-stage deposit to one of the best gold projects on the planet."
The planning process is likely to take in excess of a year with a public inquiry into the proposal likely.