THE DUP says it hopes residents in the Sperrins will eventually come to support the work being carried out by Dalradian Gold.
Members of a campaign group set up to oppose Dalradian’s mining operations held a protest outside Derry’s Guildhall on Thursday ahead of the tabling of a motion by independent councillor Paul Gallagher.
In his motion Cllr Gallagher expressed concerns at the “toxic nature of gold mining operations”.
He said the work being carried out by Dalradian had not been subjected to an environmental assessment and that it should be shut down until proper checks are carried out.
Cllr Gallagher claimed that should something go wrong, particularly with the cyanide element of the gold mining scheme, there was a risk of a “toxic tsunami”.
“Cyanide is a lethal toxin and this current operation has no environmental impact assessment. These works need halted and we need intervention from the minister. If not there is a toxic tsunami coming this way,” Cllr Gallagher said.
Last Monday, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard indicated that he intends to hold a public inquiry into Dalradian’s plans.
The development was welcomed by the DUP who said that following discussions with Dalradian, the company was happy to participate in any government probe.
Campaigners packed into the Guildhall’s public gallery to hear the party’s David Ramsey say he hoped residents would eventually get behind Dalradian’s work.
The meeting had to be halted momentarily to deal with disruption from a member of the public who repeatedly coughed over the top of the DUP spokesperson.
David Ramsey said, “This company has been in touch with our party and they have made it clear that if the minister asks for a public inquiry, they are happy to do that.
“This is a major company and our party is not in a position to do away with jobs. Exploration is important as it has been for hundreds of years with oil, coal and all the rest.
“The whole project has the prospect of a major economic boost to the west and we must ensure, obviously, that the people in that area have their say and hopefully they can become in support in the future.
“This is a company that knows what it is about and they will make sure that everything is done for the good of the area,” Cllr Ramsey added.
Cllr Gallagher’s motion was passed following an amendment that council backs Chris Hazzard’s plans to hold a public enquiry into Dalradian Gold’s activities.