Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has announced that Canadian-based Dalradian Resources Inc. (TSX:DNA) is creating 19 new jobs in County Tyrone to support its gold exploration project there.
Dalradian Resources controls the mineral rights to over 80,000 hectares in Northern Ireland including the Curraghinalt gold deposit outside Gortin, which has been identified as one of the top ten undeveloped gold deposits by grade in the world.
Arlene Foster said: “The decision by Dalradian Resources to expand its Tyrone operations is good news for the local economy. The company had the option of locating these jobs in Toronto but was swayed by Northern Ireland’s cost-effective business environment and the support offered by Invest NI.
“I first met with Dalradian Resources last year on a visit to Canada and I very much welcome that those initial talks, combined with the company’s attendance at the Northern Ireland Investment Conference last October, have led to this investment. The company is looking to develop the first underground gold mine in Northern Ireland and this offers a unique opportunity to introduce specialist skills and sophisticated international resource investment into our important professional services sector.”
Dalradian Resources has been working in the area since early 2010 and has completed a number of exploration programs already, growing the total identified ounces of gold by seven-fold to 3.5 million ounces. Dalradian operates out of facilities in Omagh and Gortin, which employed 23 people prior to ramp-up of the exploration. The new jobs will be in these centres and will support the company’s pre-commercialisation work at the Curraghinalt gold deposit.
Invest Northern Ireland has offered over £326,000 of support for the jobs and associated training, which will generate almost £1million a year in salaries. Invest NI’s support is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Patrick Anderson, Dalradian’s CEO, commented: “Our Board, which has developed mines all over the globe, is focused on the Curraghinalt deposit in Northern Ireland because it has the right combination of geology, infrastructure, workforce and a business-friendly government. To date, the gold deposit has responded exactly as we’d hoped; as we’ve invested, it has grown and the preliminary economic assessment is very positive. This next phase of underground exploration, which will be managed and operated out of our Tyrone facilities, will take us through the more advanced economic assessment required to reach a mine construction decision.
“We appreciate the support we’ve received from all levels of government as well as the local community. In return, we’re committed to helping to create a new industry in Northern Ireland, to hire locally and build up specialized mining skills through training over the next several years. Ultimately, we believe Northern Ireland can support a vibrant mining sector with well-remunerated jobs.”
To date, the Company has invested more than £35million on advancing Curraghinalt and anticipates spending an additional £20million prior to beginning mine construction. A Preliminary Economic Assessment showed potential for an underground mine producing 145,000 ounces of gold per year over 15 years with the potential to contract and employ approximately 300 workers.