The Dalradian supergroup is a 450-metre belt of rock that stretches from Ireland to Scotland. Its name comes from after Dál Riata a minor kingdom in 6th and 7th century Scotland, according to this blog.

Dalradian Gold, a mining company, is hoping to mine gold in Greencastle, a hamlet in the Sperrin mountains. According to one estimate, they could be looking at one of the world’s biggest gold reserves, by grade, valued at about £3bn.

The journey so far has been anything but smooth for the company. The government there has started a public enquiry into the application saying it has received over thousands of complaints. We’ve published a mix of views on the project.

From the Facebook page of Dalradian Gold. Can be visited here.

The company’s views

Dalradian Gold has spoken about the economic impact of the mine.

Total employment boost of some 1,000 jobs

  • Direct employment of at least 350 permanent jobs
  • 455 indirect jobs at our suppliers
  • 165 induced jobs from increased spending in the area due to higher salaries

The company also says, “The social and economic benefits of the proposed Curraghinalt Mine extend far beyond the mine site and direct employment. They extend into the supply chain and the local community, and will have a multiplier effect on job creation and regional economic impact.”

“The mine is expected to have a life of at least 20 years, during which time it will transform the local economy, bring lasting benefits to residents and generate substantial macro-economic effects for NI. This will be the largest investment in NI in recent years.”

Mr. Peter McKenna from the company talking about the benefits the company will bring to the local area

Local communities

A total of 40,644 submissions were received, 36,660 of those were in objection to the mine and 3,968 in favour, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

A Guardian article, reported on the objections that residents in the local area have with the proposed project:

“First they’ll blast with explosives and that’ll just be the start. It would wipe out this whole area, it would be toxic,” said John O’Donnell, who fishes trout in rivers.

Martin Tracey, 46, a farmer, said damaging dust particles could reach schools and homes close to the site. “If that lodges in the lungs it doesn’t come out again. How much is a human life worth? It’s like someone coming into your house and attacking your family.”

The Irish Times have quoted some other community voices:

“We don’t want what Dalradian are offering here,” says Fidelma O’Kane.

They dispute the need for, and benefit of, those jobs. “What’s the cost of those jobs?” asks Sean Tracey. “They even state themselves that the lifespan of the mine is between 20-25 years, so best-case scenario you get those jobs for that length of time but it’s destroying the environment and leaving the consequences of the mine behind it for ever.”

Dalradian refutes this. “Once the working life of the mine is over, the site will be rehabilitated and the land reclaimed in a way that is in keeping with the landscape and the characteristics of the local area.”

The government view

Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon has said, “The application has proved to be complex and in excess of 40,000 representations have now been submitted to my Department about the mine proposal. The planning application includes an assessment of the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts by a wide range of expert consultees. Before any decision is taken I consider it important to have a Public Inquiry and report which has independently considered the views of stakeholders, including the local community and other Government Departments, and which will robustly scrutinise the information provided by all interested parties.”

Picture of Argyll group sediments making up the Twelve bens mountains of Connemara. Image from Guilhem Boyer on Flickr under Creative Commons.

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