Anti-goldmining group plan to run election candidate as tension mounts over siting of protest caravans

Connie Duffy


Connie Duffy


The environmental, interest group Save Our Sperrins (SOS), plan to field a candidate in the forthcoming Fermanagyh and Omagh District Council (FODC) election in a move which it is believed will guage the feelings of the community to the proposed gold mining development and processing plant, as well as the ongoing industrialisation of the rural areas of the county in general.

Emmet McAleer, son of SOS chairman, Cormac, is expected to be officially named tonight (Wednesday) at a meeting due to take place at the old schoolhouse, now the play group centre, in Greencastle at 8.30pm. He will contest a seat in the Mid Tyrone District Electoral Area.

Meanwhile relations between SOS and the council have become even more strained in recent days with the announcement that the council is seeking to have two caravans close to an area where Canadian firm Dalradian Gold plan to develop a mine removed.

This comes after years of exploratory work by the firm in an area. It said the mine would be "economically transformative" for County Tyrone.

Described as "one of the best gold projects on the planet", the area is said to hold $4bn (£3bn) worth of deposits. The cost of developing the mine is £125m and if permitted would involve unearthing 1,500 tonnes of rock a day from underground tunnels.

A diluted cyanide solution would be used to separate tiny gold particles from a portion of the crushed ore.

The caravans, known locally as the Greencastle People's Office (GPO), have become a focal point for the ongoing protest and have garnered national and international interest with media from various parts of the world descending on the area in recent weeks. The protest site is also close to a statue of the Virgin Mary, which the council has also ordered to be removed.

In two letters, which were later posted on social media by protesters, council officials ordered the removal of the caravans within 28 days. The notice comes weeks after the council passed a motion opposing mining in the Sperrin Mountains.

Full story in this week's Tyrone Constitution...

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