Traditional quarrying companies have been urged to dissociate themselves from a planning application for a gold mine in the Sperrins.
Sinn Féin councillor Cathal Mallaghan, who comes from a quarrying background, made the call at the monthly meeting of Mid Ulster Council when a motion was passed objecting to the gold mine application.
The Pomeroy councillor spoke regarding the importance of traditional mining in the Mid Ulster area. He said: “There has been a great quarrying history in Mid Ulster. It is labour intensive and provides many jobs. It is a significant part of our economy.
“We are very lucky to have many responsible local companies in our area leading the way in supplying innovative construction solutions not just here, but across these islands.
“The health and wellbeing of our residents in Mid Ulster must come first. Cyanide plants are totally unacceptable to most people in this area.
“Sadly the quarrying industry can be dangerous and even in this age of forensic health and safety, accidents can and do happen. We cannot stand by while a company totally unknown to us, place a cyanide washing plant so close to our boundary. Gambling hugely with our environment and our communities health.” He said there must be a clear distinction in those who extract rock, sand and gravel from those who are mining for precious metals - most people may not see the difference and the line can become blurred, he claimed.
“I urge our local quarry industry to disassociate themselves from this application and I call on the Quarry Producers Association to disassociate itself from mining for precious metals before the general public turn against all types of quarrying in our area,” he added.