SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has criticised the decision by DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons to award two new mineral prospecting licences to Dalradian Gold Limited. The Mid Ulster MLA said the SDLP remained firmly opposed to the practice and the DUP Minister was failing to take the views of local communities on board when making his decision.
Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone said, “The decision by the DUP Economy Minister to award two new mineral prospecting licences to Dalradian will allow the company to continue its controversial activity ahead of a public inquiry into their long-term objectives in the Sperrins.
“The SDLP stands firmly behind local communities on this issue, there can be no precious metal or mineral extraction allowed in the North.
“I share the anger and concerns of my constituents who are sceptical about the international companies involved and question their commitment to ensuring the future environmental and economic well-being of the rural communities affected.
“Those constituents have been campaigning for a number of years against the Dalradian mining proposal in the Sperrins. They are rightly concerned at the potential impact on public health and the environmental damage associated with large-scale mining in the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural beauty.
“Along with local community organisations, I have previously organised meetings with Geological Survey NI, Department of Economy, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and attended a meeting held by the Public Health Agency to put forward the concerns of my constituents to these agencies.
“The SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has already requested a public inquiry into Dalradian’s gold mine project in the Sperrins.
“There should be no new prospecting licences issued to Dalradian, or any other company, until that process has been completed.”