For decades, many have talked about establishing a mine in Northern Ireland’s Curraghinalt townland. However, this has never been realized. Lack of progress on a mine in the area may be attributed to a group of locals from County Tyrone who have been protesting the establishment of a mine for more than three years.
A mining company recently applied to extract gold from the mine, but the application has yet to be approved. If approved, the mine could create new employment opportunities and bring money to the county. Despite that, many from the area would prefer the application not be approved because they want things to remain as they are.
Retired lecturer and area resident Fidelma O’Kane is concerned about how the establishment of the mine might affect the surrounding environment. She worries that the land would be contaminated and the air and water poisoned, which could lead to people suffering due to health complications.
The company in question, Daldarian Gold, has promised economic benefits for the locals in the area if a mine is set up and states that it is committed to various environmental safeguards to ensure that the environment isn’t affected. However, the company’s online proposal for the mine seems to have garnered thousands upon thousands of mostly negative comments.
This is despite some who see the mine as a likely boon for the area, which has experienced investment and job stagnation in the last 30 years. Experts say that if the mine is to be approved, Curraghinalt may become home to the biggest gold mine in the United Kingdom.
It seems it might l all come down to picking a side: approving the establishment of the mine or not approving it. Amid the pandemic, the world has seen a spike in the price of gold, despite the low volume of gold production. In 2019, the production of gold globally decreased by 1% — its first decrease in a 10-year period.
Analysts argue that the world may have moved past the maximum extraction rate for gold, which could explain the drop in production. These same analysts claim that gold production will continue to decline until eventually mining for gold will stop completely. This is despite an increase in demand for the precious metal.
In addition to local politics that may hinder mining, political barriers may also impact the natural resources sector and affect mining processes. In the case of the Curraghinalt mine, it remains to be seen whether the authorities will examine and represent the people’s interests before arriving at a final decision on whether the mine will be established.
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