Although mining is a new industry for Co. Tyrone, mines can be found throughout Europe – including close to home in both Ireland and Britain.
In addition to providing well-paid jobs, modern mining co-exists successfully with communities, the environment and other businesses, including those in tourism and hospitality. Indeed, one of the advantages of living beside a mine is that its employees and suppliers spend their earnings in local hotels, shops and restaurants.
A great example of how mining works alongside tourism is the Tara Mine on the edge of Navan in Meath’s Boyne Valley. The mine, Europe’s largest zinc and lead mine, has been operating for 40 years. More than 85 million tonnes of ore has been extracted and it employs around 1,000 people directly.
Navan is a prosperous and growing town with a population of over 30,000. Part of the town’s success lies in its location in the Boyne Valley.
Known as the ‘Birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East’ the area is strongly promoted as a major tourist destination.
Meath is known as the Royal County due to its close association with Ireland’s High Kings and boasts an abundance of historic monuments including the Hill of Tara and Newgrange (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It also offers world-class fly fishing and has won awards as a ‘Foodie Destination’ due to the quality of its restaurants and local produce.
The mine provides year-round employment, providing much welcome custom for local hotels and restaurants – even outside the main tourist season.
With plans to provide 1,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, Dalradian’s gold and silver mine at Curraghinalt, will provide a similar boost for Tyrone’s tourism and hospitality sector.