The anti-mining sign erected PARC at Banagher Dam.
A company that has carried out extensive exploration work for a potential gold mine in the Sperrins has hit out at claims by environmentalists that it would have a detrimental effect on the area.
Dalriadan has been carrying out the exploratory work since 2009, which has attracted the attention of several anti-mining groups
On New Year's Day the campaign group Park Against Ruination of our Courtryside (PARC) placed a large sign reading “No to Toxic Mining” on fencing at Banagher Dam.
A spokesperson for the group told the Derry News last week that gold mines would have a "detrimental impact on the environment, visually and ecologically."
However, a spokesperson for Dalradian rebuffed the claims, stating that it had worked within “strict environmental guidelines.”
“Dalradian has a ten-year track record of working successfully in the Sperrins, including extensive exploration work that has been carried out under strict environmental guidelines and with landowner permission.
"Exploration is just the first stage in a long process to develop a mine that typically takes more than 10 years and includes detailed environmental studies and a planning application.
"Very few exploration projects go on to become mines."
PARC said a gold mine would provide what they termed a 'windfall economy' of short term employment and economic investment.
But the Dalradian spokesperson said this was not the case.
"Modern mining, as demonstrated across Europe from Ireland to Sweden, can take place in tandem with the environment. "Mining also provides long-term local jobs, training, growth opportunities for local businesses and community benefits," said the spokesperson.
"This is the case with Tara Mines in Navan which has been operating for over 40 years or Lisheen Mine which was open for almost 20 years in Tipperary.
“Dalradian’s proposed underground mine at Curraghinalt, which will have an operational life of at least 20-25 years, is an environmentally responsible project that will be Europe’s first carbon neutral mine.
"The mine will produce silver, copper and gold which are essential metals for the new renewable technologies that are helping tackle climate change."
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