MAC: Mines and Communities

Ireland legends to play against gold mining

Published by MAC on 2016-07-07
Source: Ulster Herald, Midulster Mail,

While Canadian miner Dalradian Gold Ltd. is developing a gold mine in the Sperrin Mountains in Northern Ireland, Irish 'football legends' are set to play a game to support the ‘Save Our Sperrins’ campaign.

Ireland legends to play in anti-gold mining match

6 July 2016

THE Tyrone legends of 2003 who brought the Sam Maguire Cup back to the county for the first time are all set to line out again in a fund-raising game in support of the ‘Save Our Sperrins’ campaign.

The match will be played in Greencastle on Saturday, July 16 at 7pm.

However the organisers and supporters are hoping that Sean Cavanagh the only player still with the Tyrone squad will not be available and rather will be preparing for another Ulster final the following day.

It is understood the 2003 captain Peter Canavan will not be able to attend the game due to prior work commitments, but is expected to write a message of support on the match programme.

The majority of the panel will take part in the ‘Clash of the Champions’ game against the Greencastle side who won the 2007 All Ireland Junior final. They too were the first side from Tyrone to win an All Ireland club title.

The Save Our Sperrins campaign has been hugely publicly active in opposing plans by Dalradian Gold to use cyanide at a proposed processing plant and mine in the heart of the area. Dalradian have argued that the use of cyanide is highly regulated and that the proposed plant will minimise impacts on the environment and wildlife. However local residents have voiced concerns about the proposal.

All star Brian McGuigan who continues to play for his club Ardboe “fully supports” the Greencastle campaign however he is booked to go on holiday with his family the week of the game.

He said, “I’d love to have played. It is the first time the boys have played together since we were on the Tyrone team.

“I’m very disappointed to miss it but I know a lot of the players will be there.

“It is a very important issue for that area and I hope there will be a big crowd to raise money and awareness of the campaign.”

Save our Sperrins spokesman Cormac McAleer is delighted with the support the campaign is receiving from Tyrone’s best known footballers.

He said money raised will be spent on the campaign including paying for experts and legal challenges.

“We are trying to get as many players as possible from Tyrone and Greencastle together,” he said. “There are Greencastle boys in different parts of the world, including Australia and England, who we hope will come home for it. It promises to be a great occasion for such an important cause.”

Sperrins sporting clubs turn their backs on goldmine money

Shauna Corr

16 February 2016

A number of sports clubs based in and around the Sperrin Mountains have turned down money from Canadian mining company Dalradian Gold amid a change in public opinion over its proposed mine.

The Irish News today reported that Tyrone ladies GAA, whose U-16 girls were sponsored by Dalradian last year, has joined Greencastle GAC in refusing funds from the miners.

But the Sperrin Wheelers cycling club also said on the Save Our Sperrins Facebook page that it would “be able to survive without such masked offers of funding” adding that “Sperrin Wheelers are in no way in support of the Dalradian Gold Ltd and their future plans”.

Greencastle Athletic Club has also raised concerns over any plant’s impact on an annual charity race it holds.

The company’s Tyrone Fund has donated £126k to various groups in the area since 2010.

But an article by Bloomberg Business last July, said the gold in the Sperrins could be worth £3.3billion to Dalradian.

Patrick Anderson, Dalradian’s chief executive officer was also quoted as saying: “I’m not talking about a single mine. We are working on building a mine camp here.”

Sperrins residents raised concerns with the Mid Ulster Mail two weeks ago over cyanide use at the proposed mine .

Worried local voices will not be heard, the group Save Our Sperrins has also held a series of public meetings - which hundreds have attended - in an attempt to rally support for their fight against the proposed gold mine.

Many in Greencastle fear it will ruin the countryside around their quaint mountain town, affect protected freshwater pearl mussels in nearby Owenkillew River and pollute the water table.

Keen to get locals on board, Dalradian Gold told the Mail it commenced further public consultations on January 22 and in keeping with the “area of outstanding natural beauty” will put up “natural screening” around the mine and put waste rock back into the ground.

“The company has invested £50 million to date in the project,” a spokesperson said. “It employs 55 people directly, of which 54% are from County Tyrone. We employ approximately another 60 through our contractors.

“Many of our suppliers and contractors are local as well so our project has already made a substantial contribution to the local economy. Invest NI has invested £326,000 in the project for jobs and associated training in our current stage of works.

“Between March and April 2015 Dalradian conducted a door to door survey in the Gortin and Greencastle area, a total of 608 houses were surveyed by questionnaire. The results showed that 93% of the respondents (91.48% of which were local residents) are in favour of or neutral about the project in their area.”

Tyrone residents voice fears over cyanide gold mine plan

Connla Young

5 February 2016

FURTHER meetings are planned by residents in Co Tyrone amid concerns over the prospect of cyanide being used at a gold mine.

Dalradian Gold Ltd confirmed on Thursday night it intends to use the highly toxic chemical at a planned processing plant to extract gold from ore mined in the Sperrin Mountains.

News of the controversial plan has alarmed some local people and up to 200 attended a public meeting in Greencastle, near Omagh, on Tuesday night.

Around 500 people have also signed a petition opposing the plan.

Dalradian first moved into the area 2010 in search of gold in the hills between Greencastle and the village of Gortin, where it has an office.

The area has been identified as one of the top undeveloped gold deposits by grade in the world and the company has spoken of the potential for local employment.

Underground exploration began in 2014 and now the Canadian firm wants to locate a mine and processing plant within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Crockanboy Road, which is just outside Greencastle.

In recent years residents have voiced concern about the potential impact the mining project may have on the environment.

Cormac McAleer from the Save Our Sperrins campaign group said many people are opposed to the plan.

“Local people are waiting with some dread about the actual detail of the Dalradian proposal to be finalised,” he said.

“In the meantime people want to see the interests of the local population and environment come ahead of the profits of the Canadian (company).”

Mr McAleer described the proposed processing plant as a “monstrosity”.

He added that the concerns go beyond the potential use of cyanide and include the impact of dust and noise on people living in the district.

Cyanide is typically used to separate gold from ore but accidents have the potential to cause enormous damage to wildlife if the chemical enters waterways.

In recent weeks Dalradian has held several meetings with residents in Greecastle, Gortin and the hamlet of Rousky, which sits between the two, to outline their plans.

Under planning laws it is required to carry out consultation prior to submitting an application, which the firm expects to be lodged in the autumn.

Dalradian has also appointed a director of ‘stakeholder engagement’ and set up a Tyrone Fund to provide grants to organisations in the area.

A spokeswoman for the company defended the use of cyanide.

“Gold mining involves the use of cyanide which is the industry standard method for gold extraction worldwide, including in EU countries such as Finland,” she said.

“Cyanide is used in many other industrial processes such as: plastics‚ adhesives, fire retardants‚ cosmetics‚ pharmaceuticals‚ paints, computer electronics and food processing.

“It is one of the most highly regulated substances in the world.

“Every aspect of its use, transport, storage and destruction is tightly controlled by UK regulations.”

The spokeswoman added that “the processing plant will be low lying in design and we will minimise potential impacts to the surrounding river and to priority habitats and protected species”.


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