Dalradian, the firm behind the controverisal plans for a gold and silver mine at Curraghinalt in West Tyrone, has welcomed the completion of the first major review of its planning application.
Initial consultation on the 10,000-page planning application with statutory bodies such as the Department for the Economy and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has now concluded.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has issued a consolidated request for further information to help clarify the proposals. Dalradian says it will respond later this year.
All new information provided will be publicly available and subject to an additional round of consultation.
Patrick F.N. Anderson, Dalradian’s CEO, said: “We’re happy to have completed the first major period of review and consultation on our application.
“Dalradian welcomes close scrutiny of our proposals, including a public inquiry at the appropriate stage.”
Other consultees included the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland which, the company said, expressed “confidence” in Dalradian’s approach to demonstrate the nature and extent of the gold deposit.
Mr. Anderson added: “Dalradian is the largest Foreign Direct Investment project brokered by Invest NI in the past eight years and DfE has acknowledged that Government policy is to support the responsible exploitation of valuable minerals.
“The Department’s response clearly sets out the economic benefits which Dalradian’s proposals will bring to the local economy.
“Over the 20-25 year lifespan of the mine we will directly employ at least 350 people with an average salary of £40,000 and spend US$1bn through the project’s supply chain, with more than 600 indirect and induced jobs being created.
“Dalradian is proposing a safe project that meets or exceeds strict environmental standards.
“The proposed mine will bring widespread social benefits to the area, including training, investment in technology, skilled, well-paid jobs that will keep families together and young people from emigrating, and support for community projects.”
The project has met with opposition in the area with the Save Our Sperrins campiagn group claiming strong local support.
Peter McKenna, Dalradian’s Community Relations Manager, said: “We’re delighted that the project has received over 2,700 letters of support so far.”