Shares in Aim-listed Canadian miner Galantas Gold plummeted 24 per cent after it admitted fears over terrorism had put a halt to the development of its only gold mine, in Northern Ireland.
The company was the biggest faller on Aim on Monday, with shares falling to 5.2p, after it said in a statement that local police are only willing to provide anti-terrorism cover for the transportation and use of the explosives it needs to mine the site’s gold for a maximum of a two-hour period twice a week, citing “resource constraints and competing priorities”.
Galantas said the cover was “insufficient”, accusing the police of acting “in a discriminatory manner against a lawful business”.
The mine is near to the town of Omagh, where 29 people were killed by a car bomb in 1998.
Roland Phelps, the company’s chief executive, criticised the decision: “The company pays full UK taxes, royalties and mineral license fees. A cost benefit analysis of Police Service Northern Ireland (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.”
Galantas is now looking into legal options and may seek compensation for the cost of the delays, it said. The company has estimated that during the entire lifespan of the mine it could generate just under £92m.
Development of the mine, which is located in County Tyrone, in the west of Northern Ireland, was expected to create 130 jobs locally. However, it said discussions had already started over redundancies for staff recently hired for future production.