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Gold mine owners stop development as PSNI turns down security cover requested

The owners of a gold mine in Northern Ireland have halted its development after police refused to provide their requested levels of anti-terrorism security cover.

Galantas Gold Corporation said the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was not prepared to offer sufficient resources to supervise the transportation and denotation of blasting materials at its mine in Omagh, Co Tyrone. Galantas sourced gold from an open cast mine in the area up until 2013 . It has secured planning permission to excavate underground seams for the next 15 years with projections of extracting 30 million worth of gold a year.

The mining security requirement is in place in Northern Ireland to guard against the potential threat posed by dissident republican terror groups. The company said the PSNI had offered two hours of cover, two days a week – in exchange for a fee. Galantas said that was insufficient to run the mine and offered to pay the police for two hours of cover, five days a week – albeit reserving the right to challenge the policy of recovering costs in the courts.

It said the PSNI rejected that offer, citing resource constraints and competing priorities. The company is now pursuing a potential legal action against the PSNI, claiming other mining companies have not been subject to the same limitations on police resources. Galantas currently employs 15 people at the Omagh site, five of whom have now been placed on notice of redundancy .

It had envisaged employing around 130 once the planned underground mining operation was running.

Roland Phelps, president and CEO of Galantas, said: “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.”

PSNI Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody said: “There are many competing demands for the resources that PSNI commanders have at their disposal.

“They must prioritise those demands in a way that maximises the safety of the public and their officers and works to counter threats, to mitigate risk and to alleviate harm.

“Working with others to support their efforts for the development of enterprise and the economy is important to PSNI.

“It is, however, reasonable to expect a commercial venture to contribute all or part of the policing costs where it is legitimate and proportionate to do so.”

Paris gunman reportedly ‘known’ to security services

Two police officers and gunman are dead following a Paris shooting incident (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A gunman who killed a Paris police officer, and seriously wounded another two, before being shot dead was known to security services . It comes after the suspect opened fire on the police while they were stationed at the Champs-Elysees earlier tonight. It is understood the assailant stepped out of a car at a red light and opened fire with a Kalashnikov machine gun, also known as an AK-47.

One officer have been confirmed dead, with two wounded, as has their assailant. Police have confirmed they are now searching the attacker s home. The French Interior Ministry has said it is too early to say what the motive behind the attack was, but have said officers were deliberately attacked.

The counter-terror office has opened a preliminary investigation into the attack, but there has also been speculation that it could have been related to an armed robbery attempt. Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said that the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station. A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man s body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

The attack comes three days before the first round of France s tense presidential election. A televised debate with all 11 presidential candidates was being broadcast when the attack took place. Security is high around the vote after France has been attacked in recent years.

Most recently, soldiers providing security at prominent locations were attacked in separate incidents one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

More from the Press and Journal

‘Nothing untoward’ in Belfast security alert

A suspicious object which sparked a security alert in north Belfast was deemed “nothing untoward”.

Pacific Avenue, just off the Antrim Road was closed and the Army bomb squad called to the scene.

Deputy Mayor or Belfast, Mary Ellen Campbell said a suspected pipe bomb was behind the alert and residents evacuated from their homes. Police added: “A security alert which started earlier at Pacific Avenue in north Belfast has ended . Police say nothing untoward was found .

The road has now been reopened to traffic.”

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