UK news PSNI’s free ‘anti-terrorism’ service for mining firms is costing taxpayers a fortune last news

PremierLeague-News.Com - Northern Ireland’s ongoing terror threat means the PSNI continues to have to assist mining companies for free when they are using explosives — a service costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds.

UK news PSNI’s free ‘anti-terrorism’ service for mining firms is costing taxpayers a fortune last news

PremierLeague-News.Com - Northern Ireland’s ongoing terror threat means the PSNI continues to have to assist mining companies for free when they are using explosives — a service costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds.

UK news PSNI’s free ‘anti-terrorism’ service for mining firms is costing taxpayers a fortune last news
25 November 2022 - 06:45

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "Northern Ireland’s ongoing terror threat means the PSNI continues to have to assist mining companies for free when they are using explosives — a service costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds. Police are obligated under the law to provide assistance to gold mining companies, by escorting explosives and overseeing blasts free of chargeA near-fatal incident at a Co Tyrone mine has shone a spotlight on the links between an under-resourced PSNI and precious metal mining companies operating here.However, the PSNI has refused to disclose an internal review into its relationship with those organisations.Northern Ireland has 14 active mineral prospecting licenses — of which Dalradian Gold holds six — allowing companies to explore for precious metals such as gold and silver.The PSNI said it is a statutory requirement to provide free services to mining companies. That is in part because of the ‘substantial’ terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland. However, there has been confusion over whether mining companies could be charged for police assistance.The PSNI previously believed that the work fell under ‘special police services’ and companies could be charged for them.However, the PSNI later agreed to pay back over £150,000 to Canadian company Galantas for supervising the handling of explosives at its goldmine at Cavanacaw near Omagh, Co Tyrone.An FoI response published by the PSNI showed that an invoice for £446,441 for services provided to mining company Dalradian, which was carrying out exploratory works near Greencastle and Gortin in Co Tyrone, had to be written off.That was for services provided between August 2015 to June 2016 during an exploratory mining phase, when fewer explosives are used. The costs to the PSNI are high, and come at a time when it is under-resourced and officer numbers are falling. Meanwhile, Dalradian’s website details plans for a large-scale operation which, if approved, could see the mine worked over a lifespan of more than 20 years. The company has argued the mine could contain £3bn in gold and provide a £750m boost to the local economy.Another company, Flintridge Resources Limited (an operating subsidiary of Galantas) was fined £120,000 for “health and safety failings” on Friday in a prosecution led by the NI Health and Safety Executive (HSENI).The Tyrone Herald reported disturbing details from court about an explosion in July 2018, which resulted in 150 tonnes of rock narrowly missing an employee driving a construction vehicle at its goldmine near Omagh.A further collapse occurred and the surface of a roadway gave way resulting in an excavation vehicle being stuck in a sinkhole. The driver escaped through a broken window.Around the same time two men working underground became aware of water flowing in, and within a few hours the area was fully submerged — an estimated 860,000 litres of water entered the mine, according to the Tyrone HeraldSeveral health and safety failings were noted. The judge said the company was using too many explosives and he remarked that the police could “only afford a certain amount of time” for these matters.HSENI Principal Inspector Brian Pryce said: “Mine operators must ensure that suitable ground control measures and precautions are in place to prevent falls of ground and inrushes. These measures and precautions must be continually monitored and reviewed.“The failure of the mine operator to ensure that suitable measures were put in place resulted in employees being exposed to unnecessary risk which could have resulted in fatalities.

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. Police have been required to provide the cover for the transportation and use of mining explosives in Northern Ireland for 40 years.An explosives officer is also supposed to be present during blasting. Their job is mainly to do with auditing the use of detonators — how many have been used and whether excess detonators have been disposed of.Whereas a typical quarry blast would only happen about twice a month, in a gold mine, explosives use is much more intense — blasting happens three or four times a week, necessitating a considerable use of police resources.Co Tyrone environmental activist Ciaran McClean has been following the issue closely.He said the issue is “most definitely” in the public interest, not least because of the public money involved.Mr McClean believes an urgent review is needed into the role of the Explosive Blasting Unit (EBU), with a view to making recommendations about future operations and resourcing.“I ask that cognisance is taken of how policing/mining actions currently impacts upon community relations in this District though,” he said. “The public perception of mining companies availing of free security from the public purse jars with the concept of fair play for those who pay their taxes in good faith.”He added: “It’s disappointing such a destructive industry is pitting many groups in the community against other and infecting community relations as well as potentially impacting the PSNI financially.“It’s my earnest hope police relations can be repaired with those who feel betrayed after the goldminers leave.”Chief Superintendent Jon Henry said that having taken legal advice and established the services police provide to mining companies in their use of explosives cannot be classed as ‘special police services’, the PSNI will not seek costs from mining companies.“An internal review of how we support operational delivery of our services was completed earlier this year and the contents are currently under consideration,” he added.“We regard this review as an internal operational matter, which contains information relating to operational practice and methodology. Any publication, if at all, will be considered following senior management consideration of the review. The legal advice was provided independently through the Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO) and is broadly that the provision of such services to the mining and quarrying industries is necessary, partly because of the prevailing terrorist threat level in Northern Ireland and also due to our statutory legal obligations around how explosives are managed.“This being so, these services are considered to be security related rather than ‘special police services’ which are chargeable for some commercial activities.” A spokesperson for Dalradian said: “The PSNI has previously confirmed that the escort of explosives for the mining and quarrying sector is considered to be security related and should not be chargeable.“The PSNI has statutory legal obligations to manage explosives and they determine the level of police involvement required. This is not a ‘service’ firms request.“Dalradian is treated on the same basis as other local firms in the quarrying and mining sector which are not charged for the escort and supervision of explosives.”Galantas and the Department of Justice have been contacted for comment." , "isAccessibleForFree": "False", "hasPart": { "@type": "WebPageElement", "isAccessibleForFree": "False","cssSelector": "#flip-pay"} }

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