Mid Ulster Workers’ Party representative Hugh Scullion has added his voice to calls for a public inquiry into plans for a gold mining scheme in the Sperrins.
Mr Scullion said the work of the ‘Save Our Sperrins’ group had helped to bring the issue to the fore and their insistence on a public inquiry into plans by mining company Dalraidan Gold is “an absolute must and should be undertaken without delay.”
He said: “It is almost beyond belief that a mining operation involving the use of cyanide in a location officially designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be allowed to proceed without even a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.
“At any one time the company plans to store between five and twenty tonnes of cyanide on site and return the water it uses in the extraction process back into the local watercourse after on site processing.
“The relentless pursuit of profit at any price must be exposed and halted in its tracks. The fact that the DUP, through one of its local Councillors, is supporting the scheme should be sufficient cause for alarm on its own.
“During November, 10,000 snow geese were killed by toxic waste from a former mine in British Columbia Canada. The Sperrins are home to a host of wildlife including otters, salmon and fresh water mussels.
“The recent drilling operations at Woodburn Forest outside Carrickfergus took place beside a water reservoir without a full environmental impact assessment and were finally halted by public protest and pressure. It seems that the same pressure and protest will be needed in the face of this scheme.” He urged the Infrastructure Minister should announce a public enquiry.