Public inquiry an opportunity for independent scrutiny

Dalradian welcomes major step forward in planning process

Dalradian’s plans for an environmentally responsible underground gold-silver-copper mine have taken another step forward following the decision by Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, to refer the project to a Public Local Inquiry.

The inquiry is a standard stage toward the end of the planning process for regionally significant projects.

The planning application, lodged in 2017, could be transformative for the economy west of the Bann, potentially creating almost 1,000 jobs, including 350 directly with the company over the mine’s lifetime.

Minister Mallon said:

“I am now satisfied that sufficient detail, consultee responses and representations have been provided to allow for robust scrutiny of the application in a public forum and that we should move as soon as practicable to the Public Inquiry phase in processing this application.”

An open and transparent forum

This decision to move to the next stage of the planning process was welcomed by Dalradian’s CEO, Patrick F.N. Anderson:

“This is a major step forward in the planning process, providing an opportunity for independent scrutiny in an open and transparent forum. This will give all interested parties the chance to have their voice heard.”

“Our proposed project will boost the regional economy for a minimum of 20 years and provide a broad range of social and economic benefits in line with local and regional government aims. These include regional rebalancing, sustaining rural communities, creation of good jobs, raising the skills base of the workforce and increased investment.

“We held a number of very productive supplier events with Chambers of Commerce earlier this year and there has been a great deal of interest from local firms.

“We are also seeking to agree a number of key construction contracts conditional on planning permission to ensure we are shovel ready pending a positive decision by the Minister.”

Net Zero Carbon Emissions

Mr Anderson added:

“While we recognize that the economic opportunities provided by the mine are substantial, operating in tandem with the environment is just as important. That’s why our project design includes the best available technology and a commitment to net zero carbon emissions over the lifetime of the mine.”

The Public Local Inquiry will be heard by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) who will report to the Department for Infrastructure.