Gold mine company scrap cyanide plan but campaigners unmoved

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Dalradian has said its proposed mine and processing plant in the Sperrins will be cyanide-free and that the mine will be the first in Europe with a zero carbon footprint.

The company has submitted a package of Further Environmental Information (FEI) to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), in order to assuage concerns.

The Canadian-controlled goldminer said the project will be carbon-neutral through measures such as using renewable power, electric vehicles, covered conveyor belts and biodiesel. Fuel usage has also been reduced by 25 per cent or approximately one million litres per year, it said.

Meanwhile, Dalradian has further promised that “no cyanide or smelting will be used. Instead, simplified processing will yield a partially refined product that will receive further treatment overseas”.

Water demand has also been reduced by nearly 30%; all water will be sourced on-site and recycled within the site.

Patrick F.N. Anderson, President and CEO said: “The mine will be immensely beneficial for County Tyrone and the wider region, creating 1,000 jobs and spending of £750 million locally over 20-25 years.

“We will be investing in training and working with local colleges to make sure that it is the local people who benefit most from the long-term jobs and opportunity that this project will create.

“Given the scale of the project, it has met with a very high level of interest and comment. We have listened carefully to the feedback we’ve received from those who have actively engaged with us.”

Campaigners have told the media that their opposition to the mining proposal will continue.

In a Facebook post the Save Our Sperrins group said: “Do they really think people locally see cyanide as the only health and environmental risk from their... plans?

“And if this is the case, what other community will now be forced to suffer this threat in their area?

“As we know it is much more financially appealing to process the low-grade gold close to the mine site, who/where else will be identified as an alternate target now?

“Or, is this a short-term, fire fighting idea? Is it some sort of last ditch attempt to try to counter the 18,000+ (& growing) objections which have currently been lodged on the same Planning Portal?

“Whatever the reasoning, Dalradian are not welcome here, or anywhere else on this island.

“It’s time they give up and get the flights back to Canada booked.”