After a visit from the council, anti-gold-mining activists say they will fight any eviction attempt

Caravan with protest banners against toxic mine in Co. Tyrone countryside
Peadar O'Cearnaigh

An anti-gold-mining protest camp objecting to Dalradian Gold Ltd’s attempts to mine the Sperrin mountains had an unannounced visit from a council official on 8 November.

According to activists at the camp, the official told them the council will send a letter to the landowner saying they’re in breach of planning regulations. This could mean an eviction for the protest camp, which consists of two caravans.

The unannounced visitor

Activists claim the official was not initially forthcoming. They say they noticed a man arriving in a hurried fashion in a white jeep. The man got out of his vehicle and then took photos of the protest caravans. He then tried to leave very quickly. When activists approached him, he identified himself as an official from the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s planning office.

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Activists told The Canary the official said he was taking photos to “build a file on the camp”. The official informed them, they said, that the landowner might have to remove the camp, as they don’t have planning permission for the two caravans on site.

When they asked why the council took nine months to approach them, the official reportedly said it had only recently found out about it through social media. Activists established the camp on 3 February this year.

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Protest camp

Locals established this camp to take a stand against Dalradian’s plans to mine gold in their community. They say the camp acts as an “early warning system”. Additionally, they say they won’t let Dalradian “ride roughshod over the community”. This camp serves as a community information stand on Dalradian’s mining proposals, according to activists.

Activist response

Activists say that if the council forces them to move from the site, there “will be massive community opposition”. They told The Canary this is a “line in the sand”. They say they are prepared to do what is necessary to prevent the mine.

Council and Dalradian response

Dalradian told The Canary this was a matter for the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. The council said it appeared on site as it was “investigating the alleged unauthorised siting of 2 caravans” and it was “standard practice” to take photographs. It says while “investigations into the alleged breach has been ongoing” that “no formal action has been taken as yet”.

Letters of objection

This latest incident is part of a long-running dispute between the local community and Dalradian. Activists are currently objecting to Dalradian’s attempts to store and use cyanide at this site, as reported by The Canary. The formal deadline for objections is 15 November.

Featured image Greencastle People’s Office

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