Dalradian: The economic facts

Dalradian’s proposal to build a state-of-the-art underground mine in west Tyrone, which will employ 350 full-time workers with average salaries of £40,000, represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the local community. We believe that inaccuracies about such an opportunity should be challenged. This project will economically transform the area, much like the Tara mine in County Meath has done for the people of Navan since 1977. Below are some of the erroneous claims that have been made about our project.

Dalradian’s project will provide a minimum of 350 full-time jobs throughout the operation of the mine. These jobs, which are vital to the mine’s operations, will be contracted and permanent. The average salary of the 350+ jobs will be £40,000, more than double the average salary in the Fermanagh Omagh District Council area. This information is contained within our planning proposal.

Of the 46 workers currently employed by Dalradian, 40 are living in Tyrone and the surrounding areas. Global studies of mining operations across the world show that typically more than 90% of workers are recruited from the local community.

As we have seen regularly since Brexit, many employers are complaining about a skills shortage across a range of sectors from the IT sector to engineering to hospitality. From a business and economic perspective it makes much more sense to have access to a pool of skilled labour from the local area, rather than have to recruit workers from other countries which are governed by Home Office rules. In short, Dalradian is committed to fostering the employment of local people wherever possible and providing both on-the-job training for career progression and formal qualifications.

Our underground mine will provide a range of jobs and career paths for local people, from school leavers to graduates to experienced management professionals. All of our plans around employment can be found in the Statement of Economic Impacts which forms part of our planning application. In fact, of the 350 full-time jobs, around 200 will require candidates to have A Levels, BTECs or NVQs. A further 80 will require candidates to have BTEC professional, HNCS, CertHE, Degrees and Diplomas. Employers will know that given employment laws and practises, the best way to work towards a large local workforce is to ensure that the skillsets exist in the area, so that when jobs are there to be filled, local people have the requisite skillset to benefit.

For those skillsets which aren’t readily available in the local area, Dalradian is proposing a collaboration with the South West College in Omagh in order to provide qualifications in those areas. The college has excellent training programmes for a range of sectors, e.g. the ‘Get Engineering’ initiative, and we are working well with the college to develop further bespoke skills training. Dalradian already runs a bursary scheme with South West College and offers a hugely popular paid intern programme aimed at providing young people from the area with hands-on experience in a modern business enterprise.

Aside from the fact that it is patently untrue that a business employing 350 full-time workers on average salaries of £40,000 will be an economic burden, our project will have other economic benefits for the local community and for the provision of services. Dalradian will pay £8 million in corporation tax every year and £4 million in labour taxes every year. The cost of paying salaries annually will be more than £21 million and much of this money will be respent in the local community on a range of services. The suggestion that our proposed mine will cost jobs in other sectors such as farming and tourism also doesn’t stand up to examination. The Tara mine in County Meath is just a few miles from Newgrange, one of the premier tourist attractions on the island. County Meath has some of the finest farming land in the whole of Ireland.

The supply chain benefit will be over $1bn over the 20-25 year life of the mine. This will necessitate paying local businesses and suppliers to service and maintain equipment, and provide specialist services. Finally, to date our Tyrone Fund has paid out £474,000 to 215 local community groups for a range of community development projects.



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