Galantas Gold and Omagh: Terrorism and disruption in the mining industry

By Dale Benton
The Irish gold mining company, Galantas Gold, has hit the headlines this week following the news that it has had to place development plans at its Omagh...

The Irish gold mining company, Galantas Gold, has hit the headlines this week following the news that it has had to place development plans at its Omagh gold mine on hold – because the company won’t receive the necessary anti-terrorism cover.

In a statement released earlier this week, the company noted that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) will only provide anti-terrorism cover for a maximum of a 2-hour period, two days per week. This cover would be “insufficient to sustain the development of or operation of the Omagh Gold Mine”.

Disruptive industry

Many mining operations across the world must take into consideration a number of disruptive elements that could potentially be out of the operators control. Weather, such as BHP Billiton and the effects of Cyclone Debbie, and safety concerns are two of the major disruptive elemetns across the mining industry.

But terrorism, and the threat of attack, is not a rare concept. In our recent interview with Boris Kamstra, CEO of Alphamin Resources, he revealed that the company has implemented a strategy that specifically targets the threat of an attack on its workers and seizing its tin product.

Through a close working relationship with the North Kivu Government, Alphamin can sterilise the seized goods effective immediately.

“We can alert the tin community that we’ve lost X tons of material and we will have the full specifications of it. The people who have it will now be restricted as to who they can sell it to, as the main stream smelters will not be partial to buying it,” says Kamstra.

What this effectively does is sterilise the economic value of the material and Alphamin’s mine in anyone else’s hands.

“There’s a kind of in built insurance policy that should any of our material be liberated from us, it effectively economically sterilises it from the world at large,” says Kamstra.

Galantas and Omagh Gold Mine and Anti-terrorism

Omagh Gold Mine is located in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  It has an operational processing plant and tailings facility. The plant is on stand-by awaiting ore from underground development. The underground mine development expected to create 130 jobs plus others in service industries associated with the development.

The dispute stems from the transportation and use of certain rock breaking materials and explosives at the site. This is due to the potential terrorist use of those materials and is in fact an actual requirement of PSNI specific to Northern Ireland.

“The Company whole-heartedly supports PSNI and its officers in its laudable objective of maintaining peace, law and order in Northern Ireland in difficult circumstances.  However, 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.”



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