After years of research, testing and preparation, the firm aiming to bring more than 350 jobs to Co Tyrone and an investment of $1 billion over the next 25 years has lodged it planning application for Curraghinalt gold mine.
In what has been hailed as one of the biggest foreign direct investments seen in the province, Dalradian Resources Inc has submitted its bid to the Departmemnt for Infrastructure to extract gold in the Sperrins and, if successful, hopes to be operational within four years.
The process will create 300 jobs during the construction phase plus more than 350 jobs at an average salary of £40,000 over the anticipated 25 year life of the mine.
The company has also secured CAN$78.25 million (£46.3 million) of financing from Orion Mine Finance Fund II LP and Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd, two of the top mine finance groups in the world.
“This is an exciting day for Dalradian and for Northern Ireland,” said chief executive Patrick F N Anderson.
“It is the culmination of seven years of exploration, engineering and environmental work on the Curraghinalt deposit and financings that have raised more than C$260 million for our work in Northern Ireland.
“We have transformed the project from a small, early-stage deposit to one of the best gold projects on the planet.
To support the claim he said the application runs to more than 10,000 pages, including nearly 40 detailed reports by independent experts from globally recognised environmental consulting firms.
“I am confident our submission demonstrates that we can deliver a sensitively designed and well-thought-out project that will provide economic benefits to the region and solid returns to our shareholders using environmental best practices.”
Mr Anderson said the firm was appreciative of the contributions of local residents, consultants, regulators and other stakeholders whose input had been sought as part of the process.
“We are confident that a gold mine in Tyrone will not be only be economically transformative for the county but will help support a range of businesses across Northern Ireland. We are proud to be building on Tyrone’s strong engineering and manufacturing base.
“Orion and Osisko are two of the top mine finance groups in the world. Their investment in Dalradian is a strong vote of confidence in our project and Northern Ireland. As a result, we are entering permitting with substantial funding that will allow us to continue to explore and further prove up the potential of the project.
“Our ongoing investment will ensure continued economic benefits to Northern Ireland through our training initiatives, jobs and supplier opportunities.’’
The project currently supports more than 100 jobs at the exploration site at Curraghinalt.
The planning process falls under the remit of the Department because the project has already been deemed “regionally significant” and therefore the decision to grant planning approval rests with the DfI.
There now follows a consultation round and requests for further environmental information, if necessary.
Then comes further consultation by DfI with the public and statutory consultees and a recommendation by officers to the Minister for Infrastructure or permanent secretary for a decision.
It is anticipated that this part of the process would take up to one year.
Given the scale of the project, it is expected that a public inquiry will be held prior to a final decision being taken, which would also take around a year, leaving two years for construction according to Dalradian’s projections.