THE planning application for a controversial gold mine in County Tyrone is to be the subject of an independent public inquiry.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon confirmed the move on Monday.
The mine project at Greencastle was originally submitted by company Dalradian in 2017.
The company revised the application in 2019, dropping plans to use cyanide as part of its extraction process.
But those opposed to the mine said this would not affect their continued opposition to the project and said they would not stop until the entire plan was shelved.
The company has argued the mine will bring economic benefits and is one of the largest gold resources in Europe.
It claims the mountains could contain £3bn in gold and provide a £750m boost to the North of Ireland economy.
More than 40,000 representations have been submitted to the Infrastructure Department about the mine proposal.
Ms Mallon said: “Before any decision is taken I consider it important to have a public inquiry and report which has independently considered the views of stakeholders, including the local community and other government departments, and which will robustly scrutinise the information provided by all interested parties.
The public inquiry is a restatement of a commitment made by the previous Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard in 2017 that the application would be subject to such scrutiny.
Opposition to the mine has centred on the previous plan for the use of cyanide, on a proposal to build a huge mound of mine spoil into the landscape of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and because of the potential impact on air quality and protected rivers nearby.Tags: