Gold mining in county Tyrone, Ireland

Canadian Company, Dalradian, proposes to start gold mining on the Green Road in Greencastle, Omagh, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland. In 2016, there is growing resistance against it.


Description
Canadian Company,  Dalradian, proposes to establish a gold mining ‘camp’ on the Green Road in Greencastle, Omagh, Co Tyrone, Ireland.  It will involve: a mine 1,000 metres deep;  a cyanide processing plant; a toxic waste dump bigger than the whole of Greencastle Village(including Maryville); several poisonous tailings ponds;   a huge tunnel through Crockanboy Hill (5m x 5m) and other infrastructure.   Mining companies such as Dalradian are willing to spend millions of dollars and make endless promises to obtain this ‘social licence’. They send agents (Community Liaison Officers) into the area to befriend people, bringing gifts to get people on side eg. Dalradian have given out £126,000 in ‘gifts’ to groups, clubs and organisations in order to ‘buy’ their support or silence.   However, in doing this,  they have caused divisions within communities and families. 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 (AONB) located in the Sperrin Mountains.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).” 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. 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 next autumn (2016).
Basic Data
NameGold mining in county Tyrone, Ireland
CountryUnited Kingdom
ProvinceNorthern Ireland
SiteGreencastle/ Gortin
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Specific CommoditiesGold
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
Work at the site by Dalradian has included drilling, logging and assaying over 50,000 metres of core. It has also launched an "underground exploration programme", which involved up to 2,000m of underground development.
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Project Area (in hectares)80,000
Level of Investment (in USD)72,760,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population2,000
Start Date2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesDalradian Resources from Canada - Mining company
Relevant government actorsDepartment of the Environment (Northern Ireland)

Invest NI
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFriends of the Earth NI https://www.foe.co.uk/northern-ireland/northern_ireland_index

Save Our Sperrins (SOS) https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurSperrins/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Waste overflow, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherNegative impact on the small tourist industry
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.So far the project goes ahead. However by 2016 campaigners have managed to generate a shift in the public opinion.
Sources and Materials
References

Ten fundamental concerns raised by FoE NI in relation to the processing of the planning application for a Gold mine near Gortin, Co Tyrone
[click to view]

Links

Situation explained in the Irish News
[click to view]

How attractive the project was for investors
[click to view]

On the interest by investors
[click to view]

Column written by local intellectual and politician Eamon McCann
[click to view]

Other Documents

Save Our Sperrins Street protest with activists holding the banner of the campaign Save Our Sperrins
[click to view]

Ten fundamental concerns raised by FoE NI in relation to the processing of the planning application for a Gold mine near Gortin, Co Tyrone Document raising environmental issues against permission to go ahead with the mine
[click to view]

Ten fundamental concerns raised by FoE NI in relation to the processing of the planning application for a Gold mine near Gortin, Co Tyrone Document released pointing at a number of environmental issues that could undermine the permission approval
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAlfred Burballa Noria
Last update15/07/2016
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