UUP MLA tells Tyrone community opposed to goldmine scientist wouldn’t drink resulting ‘cyanide water’

Anti Greencastle gold mine signs in the Sperrins

Anti Greencastle gold mine signs in the Sperrins

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All but one of the potential West Tyrone MLAs who turned out to a hustings event organised by Save Our Sperrins, said they will support the community of Greencastle against proposals for a gold mine in the village.

Residents grilled eight candidates on their views and what they could do to help the mountain village fight Canadian firm Dalradian Gold.

Save Our Sperrins hustings event with West Tyrone candidates in Greencastle

Save Our Sperrins hustings event with West Tyrone candidates in Greencastle

The opinion of almost every party and independent represented - the DUP and SDLP didn’t turn up - was that the project will not be good for the area, though Conservative Roger Lomas said he supports the jobs.

With Dalradian Gold’s request for a prospecting licence for Mid Ulster, this could soon be an issue communities here will be facing.

Just 10 miles west of Cookstown telegraph poles are decorated in home-made signs with a series of slogans like ‘No poison, no goldmine’ and ‘Dalradian out of Ireland’.

And perhaps they are right to be concerned.

Anti Greencastle gold mine signs in the Sperrins

Anti Greencastle gold mine signs in the Sperrins

At the hustings event, UUP MLA Ross Hussey told locals he met with one of the scientists while touring the site of the proposed mine.

“It was explained to me about the cyanide, how the water will be used to clean it,” he said, “and there will be one millionth, apparently, of a (cyanide) particle left.

“I asked the question of the scientist, ‘would you drink the water’, and the answer was ‘no’,” he added

“If the scientist was not prepared to drink the water, I wouldn’t be prepared to drink the water and I wouldn’t expect you to... or that water to go back into the land, water table and further afield.”

Save Our Sperrins hustings event with West Tyrone candidates in Greencastle. UUP MLA Ross Hussey speaking

Save Our Sperrins hustings event with West Tyrone candidates in Greencastle. UUP MLA Ross Hussey speaking

Sinn Fein MLA Declan McAleer said he has concerned about the dry stacking procedure that has been proposed for rocks that are removed, saying it is not suitable for wet climates.

Residents opposed to the mine said they feel, like everyone in Northern Ireland, they deserve clean water, fresh air and a happy, unpolluted environment.

No one from the pro-goldmine camp was present.