A clear commitment to clean water
At Dalradian Gold, we understand that careful resource management is essential to the success of our business.
That’s why at our current exploration site, we often go beyond regulatory requirements for environmental protection.
This high level of care is also demonstrated in our plans for a future mine at Curraghinalt, which includes a state-of-the-art water treatment facility.
A new $1 Billion industry for Tyrone
Dalradian’s project represents a great opportunity for Tyrone, a county with a strong history of mineral extraction, manufacturing and engineering.
Some of the world’s leading mineral and construction material handling equipment manufacturers are based in Tyrone and a gold mine in the county is a great fit for the skills, know-how and experience that already exist there.
I am sure that building on that collective experience, Dalradian’s gold mine will be a major boost to the economy in Tyrone and indeed for the whole of the west of the Bann.
Gordon Best, Regional Director of Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland
A Great mine needs great people
Dalradian Gold has been exploring its high-grade Curraghinalt gold deposit since 2009 and will be submitting a planning application shortly to build a mine at Curraghinalt. Currently, we have nearly 100 people working in different occupations at our exploration site and our Omagh and satellite offices. The largest employer in the area, we use local suppliers and accommodation providers where possible, supporting other jobs locally. As our project moves forward, the number and type of high-quality jobs supported by Dalradian will more than triple.
Our jobs cannot be moved offshore because the gold we intend to mine – a deposit of more than four million ounces – is located right here in Tyrone. As soon as our planning application is approved, two years of construction will begin, directly employing 300 people. Once we begin operations, our direct workforce will grow to 350 or more, and span a broad range of occupations and backgrounds.
Gold mining depends upon a diverse range of skill-sets, many of which are found in the people and professions of Tyrone. Where there is a lack of experience we will provide appropriate further training and work with local institutions to bolster the skills needed for this burgeoning new industry.
We will hire heavy equipment mechanics, welders, drivers, equipment operators, millwrights, electricians, crusher operators, blasters and more. These jobs are essential to the operation of a mine; and while most will require good GCSE grades, NVQs or BTECs, or relevant work experience, they won’t require a degree.
Dalradian - Helping to protect the pearl mussel
Dalradian is proud to assist local community and conservation groups in safeguarding the environment.
A priority is keeping the rivers and waterways clean to protect the freshwater pearl mussel, an endangered species found in Co. Tyrone.
Freshwater pearl mussels are nature’s litmus test for the cleanliness and purity of our rivers and streams. Formerly abundant in Europe and a common sight in Northern Irish waters this ancient mollusc is now classified as a critically endangered species. Only six populations remain in Northern Ireland and three – in the Ballinderry, the Owenkillew and Owenreagh Rivers – are in County Tyrone.
Historically, freshwater pearl mussels were over-harvested by pearl fishers. In addition, the mollusc’s complex life-cycle makes it vulnerable to environmental change and impacts
related to agriculture.
For the first nine months of its life, the freshwater pearl mussel attaches to the gills of young salmon and trout, before detaching and burrowing underneath the gravel beds of rivers and streams. Therefore, both a healthy fish population and a clean water system are essential for its survival.
The mollusc lives underneath a riverbed for its first four years, where it feeds on algae. During this critical phase, too much silt and sediment in the water will deprive the mussel of oxygen, and potentially cause suffocation or poisoning.
Creating opportunities for business in Tyrone
Today, there are more than 100 people working on Dalradian Gold’s project in west Tyrone. Most are from the local community and live locally. We are proud to employ local people and, as we look to the future, are extremely fortunate to have such a motivated and skilled workforce here in Tyrone.
Across Northern Ireland we have spent more than £15 million in the same period. That figure excludes a further £12 million in salaries paid.
We also have thriving relationships with local suppliers and businesses – a diverse group that includes fuel, accommodation and food providers, transport companies and skilled tradespeople, like electricians, mechanics and welders.
Since Dalradian took over the exploration project at Curraghinalt, we have spent almost £1.5 million with local suppliers based in the Gortin, Rouskey and Greencastle areas alone.
In county Tyrone we have spent an additional £2.3 million with suppliers, businesses and entrepreneurs, bringing our total spend in the county to £3.8 million over the period.
This is evidence of our commitment and relationships with businesses in county Tyrone and indeed across the region.
A clear commitment to clean water
The Curraghinalt exploration infrastructure site became active in 2014. From the start, in agreement with statutory bodies, we established a stringent environmental protection framework to ensure we maintain – and enhance, where possible – the integrity of the local environment.
Currently, water from the exploration site is released under a water discharge consent from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), which governs flow and 16 different aspects of water quality, including sediment and pH balance. The consent specifies a maximum sediment content of 50mg per litre; the sediment content in the water we discharge is typically less than 10mg per litre.
We can achieve this because of our on-site, multi-stage water purification system, which includes storage/settlement tanks and a clarifier. The system continuously monitors sediment levels prior to discharge and will automatically shut down any discharge if the maximum levels are approached.
The Owenkillew River near our site is designated as a Special Area of Conservation, which makes water discharge management a key priority. The river contains several protected species including the freshwater pearl mussel, which is very responsive to sediment levels.
The economic benefits of gold mining
For communities located near gold deposits, independent research, using examples from around the world, shows that mining brings investment, employment, training and local spending. Studies confirm that, on average around 90% of the employees working at gold mines are drawn from local communities; in mines operating in Canada and the United States, developed economies similar to Northern Ireland, that figure jumps to more than 95%. Hiring as many workers as possible from the local area concentrates the benefits of the project in the communities closest to the mine and also reduces employee turnover rates.
Experience demonstrates that the benefits of mining also extend well beyond the mine site. In established economies, for every job at the mine, twice as many people are employed indirectly –working for suppliers and enterprises that support the mine. So, it’s not surprising that 70% of the total expenditures by gold mining companies go toward payments to suppliers, contractors and employees.
In addition to jobs, mines provide their employees with training and skills they can use for a lifetime, usually across a range of industries.
At the majority of mines in developed economies, employee training is ongoing throughout the year and represents a substantial investment by the mine operators. For our proposed mine in County Tyrone, the annual training expenditure will be in the range of £1.5 million. During the first three years, we will spend more than £6 million.