Newly-hired workers are being made redundant...
A Canadian company has deferred its plans to develop a goldmine in County Tyrone because it can't secure the necessary "anti-terrorism cover".
Galantas Gold Corporation requires PSNI cover for blasting operations at the Omagh mine. However, the offer from Northern Irish police of security for transportation and use of the explosives for a maximum two-hour period twice a week is apparently insufficient.
The underground mine had been expected to create 130 jobs but The Irish Times reports that recently-hired staff are to be made redundant and any new recruitment or ongoing investment put on the long finger.
The group said that discussions, in regard to potential redundancies, with mine personnel recently hired for the development, are taking place.
Galantas, which is dual listed on Toronto's TSX Venture Exchange and London's AIM market, made the announcement via a regulatory notice issued on Monday.
Within the notice, Galantas also said there was an issue over a "cost-recovery agreement" with the PSNI.
It had been advised that other organisations involved in the sector had received anti-terrorism cover without such an agreement and approached “the highest levels of command in PSNI and the Northern Ireland Office" to discuss the matter, though "engagement has so far been declined”.
While Galantas said it “wholeheartedly supports PSNI and its officers in its laudable objective of maintaining peace, law and order in Northern Ireland in difficult circumstances,” it added:
“The company believes it is improper of PSNI to act in a discriminatory manner against a lawful business. The company has been given no alternative other than to pursue its legal options, which may include seeking substantial compensation for the costs of delays."
Galantas Gold Corporation president and chief executive Roland Phelps stated:
"The PSNI’s decision is clearly a blow to any proposed mine development in Northern Ireland and negatively affects the livelihoods of our employees and their families.
"The company pays full UK taxes, royalties and mineral license fees. A cost benefit analysis of PSNI providing the required anti-terrorism cover required by PSNI is hugely to the state’s benefit – not that this is any reason to allow a potential terrorist threat to interfere with any citizen’s lawful rights or business."