Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, has announced his intention to hold a public inquiry into a proposal for a gold mining plant near Greencastle in Co Tyrone. Pre-application community consultation has been undertaken but no planning application has yet been submitted. Community Places has been providing advice to the Save Our Sperrins group which is opposing the proposed mining development. The group’s grounds for objection include protecting the Sperrins as a community and tourism asset; the proposed use of cyanide during the gold mining process; and the visual and environmental impacts of the proposal.
In acknowledging that the planning application will be complex and controversial, the Minister said: “I will ultimately be the final decision maker, but I would like the benefit of a public inquiry and report which has independently considered the views of stakeholders, including the local community, and has scrutinised the information provided by all interested parties”.