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Dalradian Resources Inc. is a gold exploration and development company. For the past six years we have been working on the Curraghinalt gold deposit in West Tyrone. In this time, we have progressed from exploration to quantifying the amount of gold, to preliminary engineering studies to an economic feasibility study and environmental studies currently nearing completion. We plan submit a planning application to build an underground mine at Curraghinalt by the end of 2016.
Dalradian Resources Inc. is listed on the London Stock Exchange (DALR) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (DNA).
Dalradian Gold Limited is a subsidiary of Dalradian Resources Inc. and is listed as a company in Northern Ireland. The majority of our workforce is based in Northern Ireland where we have 44 employees. In Canada we have seven employees.
The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland highlighted the potential for gold mining to the Company’s founders.
None. Curraghinalt is our sole focus. However, our management and board of directors have discovered, built, financed and operated mines around the world. To learn more about Dalradian’s board of directors please visit http://www.dalradian.com/about-us/directors/default.aspx
No, we have been testing mining methods as part of our exploration but we have not produced any gold. We have sent notice to the Department for Infrastructure that we plan to submit a planning application for a proposed mine and associated surface infrastructure by the end of 2016. The project has been determined as a regionally significant project and, as such, will be dealt with by the Department for Infrastructure.
The project is located in the parishes of Gortin and Greencastle in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The mine will be underground and the proposed site for the new surface infrastructure is situated North of the Crockanboy Road between Rouskey and Greencastle. We are applying to the Department for Infrastructure to retain the existing site which is located on the Camcosy Road approximately 2 miles from Rouskey.
We will be showing a rendered 3D model and animation at the Public Information Exhibitions in November. The buildings are placed between rows of trees and the largest building, the process plant, measures 58m wide, 102m long and 17m high. All of the buildings will be built and painted to blend in with the local agricultural buildings. There will also be a Mine Waste Storage Facility located on surface (see the next two questions for more details).
The Mine Waste Storage Facility will house any rock which cannot be put back underground (we estimate we will be able to return about 50% back underground) and the dry stack tailings, which are like a wet sand. The Mine Waste Storage Facility will be lined, contoured into the landscape, covered in soil and progressively seeded as more material is laid down.
At the end of the operating period the Mine Waste Storage Facility will be approximately 25 meters tall at its highest point. It will be contoured into the landscape and seeded in sections as it is progressively laid down, so that it is stable and blends in with the surrounding natural landscape. We are liaising with research facilities on a study to determine the best soil and plant choices.
The doré bars will be made in a small furnace that is fitted with ventilation, gas scrubbing and a particle capture system. The furnace will be 1.8m x 1.8m in size or smaller. Cooled air will be released through a small chimney that will be about 3 meters taller than the height of the processing plant building and similar to a house chimney. It will only be used 2-3 times per week.
When the mine closes, the surface buildings will be removed and the groundworks contoured and planted. From commencement, the Mine Waste Storage Facility will be consolidated and engineered to ensure stability. It will also be progressively seeded starting from year one. These activities will be set out in a Closure Rehabilitation Plan which will be agreed with the Department for Infrastructure.
We will only process material at the plant that is sourced from the mine. A proposal to import ore from elsewhere will not form part of the application.
It is estimated that Curraghinalt contains over 4 million ounces of gold and the deposit is still open in all directions (i.e., the ends of it have not been found). For more information please visit http://www.dalradian.com/tyrone-project/curraghinalt-deposit/default.aspx
The planning application for the proposed mine is for a specific amount of mining that will be done over approximately 20 years. Gold deposits in Canada similar to Curraghinalt are self-sustaining for decades or generations, as more gold is discovered. However, any mining in addition to what is in the current proposal would require a new permission.
The discovery of Curraghinalt pre-dated our involvement. The deposit was brought to our attention by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland. Gold has been known about in the area for generations. In the 1980s, prospectors noticed veins in outcrop in the Curraghinalt Burn and they took a rock chip sample from it. This sample was analysed and was found to contain gold. Follow-up exploration, including drilling, showed that there were a number of gold-bearing veins that continued to depth. Further exploration at that time included the development of some of the tunnels that still exist today. Since acquiring the project in late 2009, we have grown the size of the known deposit more than 7-fold through exploration, including drilling and further underground development.
They extend from surface to at least a kilometre in depth. That is why we are applying for an underground exploration area to allow us to investigate the extent of the system.
The veins are fractures in the rock that have “healed” with quartz, carbonate and other minerals such as gold. Like any natural system, variability is the norm.
The current extent that has been tested is under 2km long. However, the Curraghinalt vein system has the potential to grow. We hope to explore more of the deposit and that is why we are applying for an underground area for exploration.
We added 959 meters through the recent underground exploration programme to the pre-existing 710 metres.
The project will create at least 200 jobs during construction, which will last approximately 18 – 24 months and at least 200 permanent positions during operations. We are confident that both these figures will be revised upwards upon receipt of the Feasibility Study.
We are actively accepting expressions of interest in future positions but we will not be able to hire a full workforce for construction and operations until planning permission is granted. Expressions of interests can be forwarded to email@example.com
Yes, there will be jobs at the proposed mine for a full range of skills from mechanics and lorry drivers to geologists, engineers and administrators as well as jobs in health and safety and in environmental monitoring and management. Some jobs will require specific qualifications or training such as university or college diplomas but, for others, short-term educational training and/or on the job training will suffice. Once the ongoing feasibility study is completed, we will have a full list of job types available.
Yes. We are engaging with South West College to implement training programmes that meet the skill requirements needed to work on the project. We have invested in career planning through the development of a number of existing local staff. This is something that will continue throughout the planning process.
We are working with South West College on training programs, including on a programme to train future miners.
The salary for an underground miner would be in the range of £40,000. As there are a wide range of jobs across multiple skill sets, pay ranges for other positions are varied.
We will use primarily permanent full-time contracts during operations. We want to be a flexible employer that looks after its workforce. The issuing of permanent full-time contracts is a part of our retention plan. There are two phases to the project. The first is construction and the second is operation of the mine. We estimate the construction of the project to take 18-24 months. Operations are expected to last approximately 20 years and could be longer depending on the success of future exploration.
Underground mine workers must be 18 years of age or over.
Yes. We hire student interns each summer and plan to continue throughout construction and operations.
The proposed site faces away from the AONB and the main spine of the Sperrin Mountains. Mitigating visual impacts, in particular, has been a major part of our environmental assessment and studies. Features of the site lend themselves to reducing visual impact, including the presence of existing mature trees and natural hollows.
Cyanide is not used or stored at the current exploration site.
Cyanide will be delivered in solid form as briquettes and will be stored and used only in areas with concrete flooring. All tanks and pipes that contain solutions with cyanide will also have a secondary containment that has a capacity of 110% of the maximum volume to be stored.
A comprehensive Cyanide Management Plan will be developed, agreed, implemented and independently audited. That includes commitments to transport, unload, store, use and destruct cyanide in accordance with best practice.
We are committed to following stricter guidelines than government laws by becoming a signatory to the International Cyanide Management Code. You can find out more about what this means at http://www.cyanidecode.org/about-cyanide-code. We expect the use of cyanide at the site to ultimately be approved and regulated by both the Health and Safety Executive and the Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate at the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
The Aberfan coal mine disaster was caused when unconsolidated material, dumped in a chaotic and unplanned/unregulated manner, was subjected to heavy rainfall which collectively reduced its stability to failure.
The proposed gold mine is very different from a coal mine and will not have waste tips. Instead, we will use dry stack tailings that are engineered to ensure stability. The material is consolidated, progressively seeded and monitored. As applicable, current legislation also requires periodic geotechnical assessments by qualified specialists
Similar to our existing exploration site, all water from the site will be captured and directed through a state-of-the-art treatment plant. The purpose of the plant is so that any discharge water meets or exceeds criteria set for it by the Water Management Unit of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). Both we and the NIEA will monitor the outlet water quality to ensure compliance. The water treatment facility and water management ponds on site will be engineered with appropriate capacity to accommodate storm events.
During operations, groundwater movement will be towards the mine and not outwards towards any wells. The water in the mine will be sent to the surface for water quality treatment and/or for use in the process plant.
All materials going back underground have been laboratory tested. The results from these tests have been modelled with groundwater seepage rates. Based on this testing, pollution of groundwater will not occur.
Our Environmental Statement will present current regional background groundwater quality as a benchmark to compare against future monitoring data. Water quality monitoring within the mine, and in wells installed directly around the mine perimeter, will be used to confirm future groundwater quality.
It will be contoured to fit in with the existing hills around the site, covered in soil and seeded in stages. The Mine Waste Storage Facility is designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape.
Yes. This is done at a number of reclaimed mine sites worldwide.
Mining will take place underground and therefore will not be visible. Many parts of the surface infrastructure were planned to minimise visual effects including the retention of existing visual barriers such as trees, new plantings, utilising the existing hills and valley to hide the buildings as well as designing the height and colour of the buildings to be similar to agricultural buildings in the local area.
There are strict legislative limits relating to dust and noise and we have designed the project to meet those requirements. For example, we will use water suppression and plantings to control dust and we will have trees, sound berms and sound barriers.
We will use a combination of trees, topography and berms to help mitigate visual and noise effects. For example, the road from the portal to the processing plant will have a long hill between it and the valley below. This will decrease the noise of the trucks and block them from view. Another example is placement of part of the Mine Waste Storage Facility in a natural hollow so that its height will be reduced.
These components and design measures will not “stop” noise and view but will greatly reduce it.
Yes. We have been monitoring radon both underground and on the surface for several years as part of our baseline programs.
Yes and the details will be available in time for the Public Information Exhibitions. We have engaged with Transport NI and other statutory consultees regarding the mine development plans. A Traffic and Access Impact Assessment will be undertaken which will follow established criteria. This will be included within our planning application.
This is still being studied and we will have the results before submission of our planning application.
At the current exploration site there is a limit of 12 people underground at any one time. This is limited by safe haven accommodation requirements. For the proposed gold mine, the safe havens will be designed and in a sufficient number and location to accommodate the workforce needed for a full operating mine.
The exact shift hours and rotations for the proposed mine have not been determined but underground work will be conducted 24 hours a day with a continuous schedule. An example of an underground shift schedule would be five ten-hour consecutive work days with four consecutive days off followed by four days working and five days off. Some of the surface positions at the proposed mine will be similar multi-day shifts but some will be standard work shifts of five, eight hour days followed by two days off.
The design of the safe haven determines how many people can be accommodated. This is a broad range and depends on the needs of the operation.
At the proposed mine, safe havens, also referred to as emergency refuge stations, will be sized to emergency preparedness standards and regulatory requirements.
Food is not stored in the safe havens; miners bring their own food to cover their shift. Bottled water is supplied.
We do not use or store cyanide currently.
The Feasibility Study will outline the economics of the proposed mine including employment and taxes and it is due for release before the end of 2016.
Some of the cash generated will be transferred out of Northern Ireland but the majority will remain. The economics of mining at Curraghinalt are still being determined through the Feasibility Study. A majority of the costs of mining and processing the gold will be spent in Northern Ireland. Typically, the biggest costs are labour, fuel and electricity. Taxes and royalties would also be paid. Some money will be reinvested for exploration to increase the life of the mine and to support operations including new equipment and replacement parts each year.
Please visit https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/our-business/faqs/#whoownsthecrownestate for more information.
Dalradian will be paying the same taxes as any other business in Northern Ireland.
Yes, financial assurance is a requirement.
Gold is currently worth approximately £1,000 per ounce. The price of gold can vary daily and is influenced by world markets
This varies but we have had up to seven on the surface at any one time. During the underground exploration, as many as three drill rigs were operational underground at one time.
During the life of mine we will need to drill around the project – on surface and underground – to further define the deposit.
Backfilling is placing rock that does not contain economic quantities of gold into voids that we have excavated underground. Backfilling enhances our ability to mine the full mineral deposit by maximizing underground stability. Backfilling also minimises the material that is stored on the surface and reduces our footprint.
Paste-backfilling is the mixing of the waste material from the mill with cement to fill voids in the underground.
We did not apply for permission to sell the rock in the planning permission for our current site. The terms and conditions of our permit for the exploration site include remediation of the waste rock storage pile by covering and seeding it.
Explosives are highly regulated by both the Health and Safety Executive and the Department of Justice as to transport; amounts stored, where and for how long they’re kept; record keeping; use; and storage. We adhere to the guidelines set by the regulators.
Underground, rock that hosts the gold is drilled and then blasted. It is then brought to the surface via a tunnel using trucks.
The “ore store” is the shed at the current exploration site that holds the mineralised material prior to shipment for analysis.
There will be a crushed ore stockpile at the proposed mine – it is a covered dome-like building where ore is stored prior to on-site processing.
The mineralised material from the “ore store” at our current exploration site is sent to Derry/Londonderry for storage. This material will be shipped for testing at a processing facility to provide us with more information about gold content.
At the proposed mine, the ore will be transported to the processing plant where it will undergo crushing and grinding and processes to separate the gold from the rock.
The mined rock is brought to surface and the portion of the material that has economic levels of gold (ore) is put through a multi-step process to recover the gold. The material that does not have economic levels of gold is called waste rock and is diverted to the Mine Waste Storage Facility or kept underground.
The ore is crushed and ground down to the size of coarse sand and mixed with water. This water and sand mix is then put through a process, called flotation, in which all the metals are separated and removed from the rest of the material. The metal-free material is put through a big press to remove most of the water, producing dry stack tailings. A portion of the dry stack tailings goes to the mine waste storage facility where it is reclaimed into the landscape and the rest goes back underground.
The metals-rich material (around 10% of the material that entered the flotation process) is pumped into a series of contained cylinders where it is introduced to a weak cyanide solution. The cyanide dissolves the gold and the gold rich liquid is pumped out and filtered through coconut husks upon which the gold is deposited. The non-gold metal slurry is detoxified, mixed with cement and a portion of the dry stack tailings and the resulting cement is used to fill up areas that have been mined underground. The gold-bearing coconut husks are heated to release the gold into solution and are then recycled.
The gold solution is passed through cells that use electricity to transfer the gold and silver onto steel plates. The plates are rinsed to yield a gold sludge, which is brought to the furnace where it is melted down to form a doré bar. The bars are then sold to a mint or some other facility that can further refine them.
The ore doesn’t become gold. Ore is a word used to describe the rock that contains economic quantities of gold. The processing separates the rock from the gold and concentrates it. It doesn’t even look like gold until it is made into a doré bar. We don’t see any visual gold underground because it is very fine.
The soils moved to allow for construction of the mine buildings and Mine Waste Storage Facility will be temporarily placed in piles on site, closest to where they will be used to facilitate replacement and on-going reclamation.
The Mine Waste Storage Facility is progressively built up layer by layer and is gradually covered with soil that has been sourced from the site and then seeded. We are liaising with colleges on a study that will inform the best soil and plant choices.
We will be submitting our planning application by the end of 2016. The mine cannot be constructed before the authorities grant planning approval. We do not know how long the planning approval will take.
Construction is expected to take 18-24 months. After construction is completed, mining is expected to take place for approximately 20 years. The mining could be extended depending on exploration success but would be subject to additional planning permission.
The consultation process, which is in preparation for submitting the planning application enables individuals or groups to register their issues or concerns. After we submit the application, individuals or groups can raise concerns, opposition or register support with the Department for Infrastructure. As always, the community relations team is available on 028 816 47799 to answer any questions you might have.
Our goal is to responsibly build and operate a gold mine at Curraghinalt. As a publicly traded company, it is possible that Dalradian may one day be acquired by a larger company. However, the acquirer would have to endorse and respect all contracts or agreements that Dalradian have made. They will also have to meet all the same requirements of our planning permission to operate the proposed mine.
There may be other gold deposits discovered in this area in the future. At this point it is impossible to predict whether they would be economically viable.