MAC: Mines and Communities

Legal action planned against Canadian gold mine proposed for Ireland

Published by MAC on 2019-05-16
Source: Irish Times (2019-04-30)

Human rights violations alleged

For previous post, please go to: Canadian miner's plan incites Irish protest

Greencastle resident Martin Tracey is set to launch legal action over a
planned goldmine in Co Tyrone

Connla Young

Irish Times

30 April, 2019

A Co Tyrone man opposed to goldmine plans in the Sperrin Mountains is set
to launch legal action against a Stormont department on human rights
grounds.

Greencastle resident Martin Tracey is taking action after a planning
application by Canadian firm Dalradian Gold was submitted to the
Department of Infrastructure (DFI).

Department officials were sent a pre-action letter last month but have yet
to respond.

Mr Tracey's lawyer Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, claimed in the letter
that DFI has not taken any steps to assess the “risks posed with the
proposed project contrary to its obligations pursuant to the Human Rights
Act”.

Dalradian wants to build a processing plant which will use cyanide to
remove gold from ore mined in the area.

Some local people are strongly opposed to the mine plan on health and
environmental grounds.

The firm insists the process is safe.

Mr Mackin said the state has “a positive duty to protect health and life
of the population from foreseeable risks from dangerous industrial
activities”.

Areas of concern include that the "proposed application poses a risk to
life, risk of inhuman and degrading treatment, his right to a private life
and enjoyment of his property".

All these issues are covered under articles of the European Convention on
Human Rights.

Mr Tracey has raised concerns about plans to use cyanide in the mining
process and claims the DFI has not yet carried out a risk assessment.

Other concerns cite the possibility of radon disturbance, zinc deposits
and the impact on the nearby Owenreagh and Owenkillew rivers, as well as
diesel usage and potential noise pollution.

Both Dalradian and some political parties have previously supported calls
for a public inquiry.

The firm has insisted it is proposing a safe project that "meets or
exceeds strict environmental standards", as well as bringing widespread
economic and social benefits.

However, Mr Tracey last night demanded an “independent regional inquiry
into gold mining led by globally recognized experts to highlight critical
implications for public health”.

He said he has “no choice but to lodge a critical legal challenge against
the Department of Infrastructure on the grounds of breaches of human
rights”.

A spokeswoman for DFI said: “The department can confirm that a letter has
been received.

“The department will be responding shortly.”

Meanwhile, a community group based in the Greencastle area is appealing a
High Court decision to throw out a separate legal challenge brought
earlier this year.

 

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