Gold firm Dalradian claims it will create up to 650 new jobs with the creation of a controversial mine in Co Tyrone.
The company is currently doing exploratory mining for gold at Curraghinalt near Gortin and says more than £120m of the precious metal could be mined annually from the Co Tyrone countryside within just three years.
It now says a fully working mine could support 300 construction jobs during the build, with a further 350 roles during the mine’s lifetime.
But it has already come under fire from residents and environmental groups over the impact the development could have on the area.
Patrick Anderson, president and chief executive of Dalradian Resources, said: “The feasibility study confirms that development of Curraghinalt will provide substantial economic benefits to Northern Ireland at the local, county and national levels while also providing a strong return on investment.
“One of the project’s main competitive strengths is the high grade, which would place it in the top 10% of gold mines worldwide.
“If planning permission is granted we can now say with a high degree of confidence that the project is expected to create hundreds of jobs in construction, operation of the mine and in the wider supply chain.
“We aim to build Europe’s leading gold mine using best-in-class mining, processing and environmental standards, while facilitating economic development in Northern Ireland.”
However, a dispute arose earlier this year, between Dalradian and the PSNI. Police have billed the Canadian firm almost £400,000 for escorting explosives, but both sides are seeking legal advice.