‘Extensive concerns’ over Sperrin mining

Sperrin mountains
Sperrin mountains

SDLP MLA for Mid-Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has met with Department for Economy, NIEA and the Geological Survey NI amid concerns over prospecting in the Sperrins.

Mr McGlone said: “SDLP colleagues and I have attended a number of community meetings in the last couple of months.

“Extensive concerns - ranging from health, environmental and general wellbeing of the community - have been expressed at those meetings.

“I have therefore asked to meet these various agencies to highlight those concerns and establish how they intend to live up to expectations about their duties to society - and none of those duties are to the gold exchange, Comex.

“I have invited other parties to the meeting as it is important that the community response to this issue is unified and well-informed.”

A spokesperson for Fact Finding Slieve Gallion, a public group set up to oppose mining in the Sperrins, said recent public meetings were well attended by people “from across the community.”

Such has been the level of interest, said the group, that it will be moving future meetings to a larger venue at St Colm’s High School in Draperstown.

“We have since been inundated with requests for more info from all over with a view of arranging further meetings in Magherafelt, Cookstown and Dungannon,” said the spokesperson.

“People are sensing the potential issue here and are coming out in their droves in support.”

Australian-base Walkabout Resources carried out a geological survey at Slieve Gallion earlier in the year and are understood to be “excited” about the discovery of cobalt-cooper reserves to the south of the mountain.

However, the company’s executive chairman Trevor Benson told the Mail that mining could be many years away.

It is understood that the company, which has mines around the world, is planning to send representatives to meet with local councillors and residents to discuss their plans.

A date for a meeting has not yet been arranged.