Dalradian, the firm planning to develop an underground gold and silver mine at Curraghinalt in the Sperrins, has announced details of its latest drilling programme.
The drill programme has created eight jobs for locally based drillers and drill assistants who have previous experience of working on Dalradian’s project.
The drilling, which involves three rigs, is taking place near the existing gold and silver deposit at Curraghinalt. It will provide further information on the extent and grade of the mineral deposit.
The Curraghinalt deposit is one of the world’s top undeveloped gold deposits by grade according to the company and Dalradian says it is expected to create 1,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs when the proposed mine is operational.
Peter McKenna, Dalradian’s Community Relations Manager, said: “Dalradian is required by its licence to provide a detailed understanding of the Curraghinalt deposit and we have drilled more than 500 boreholes in the area since 2010.
“The current drill programme will support eight jobs locally and help deepen the area’s mining skill set. It’s important for Dalradian to employ local people as it provides an opportunity to enhance their skills and provide training in anticipation of the mine opening.
“Dalradian already employs 40 people in its Omagh and Gortin offices, but we have plans to directly employ 350 people locally with an average salary of £40,000 should the mine become operational. While many of these roles will be non-technical, we will also be drawing upon the region’s rich engineering and industrial know-how, and providing extensive training programmes.
“Exploratory drilling provides further understanding of the deposit and is an ongoing process that typically continues even while mining is taking place.
“The drill programme is permitted based on an extensive environmental submission that details protection for flora and fauna.
“As with all aspects of Dalradian’s operations the drilling is carried out under strict environmental regulations and with the approval of regulatory bodies.”