Conroy Gold and Natural Resources is likely to finally apply next year for planning permission for the establishment of the Republic’s first commercial gold mine.
The Dublin-based prospector, which has been eyeing a commercial gold mine in Clontibret, Co Monaghan, since the 1990s, is to accelerate work at the site following the raising of around £1m (€1.1m) from a share placing on London’s AIM market in December in order to fund drilling activity.
“We now have the funds in place to accelerate the work necessary to enable us develop a mine at our Clontibret/Clay Lake [in Monaghan/ Armagh] target,” said chief executive Richard Conroy.
The mining firm will now immediately ramp-up work at Clontibret by starting a considerable drilling programme, set to take up much of this year, and to firm up the quantity and quality of the gold at the site.
That work is likely to cost “several hundred” thousands of euro.
“Based on the work already done, we believe we have the opportunity on our licence area in Ireland to develop a worldclass mining project. The focus will be on Clontibret initially as we look to bring in the first gold mine on our property into production at the earliest opportunity,” Mr Conroy said. The company is not actively seeking a development partner for the project but would welcome an approach, Mr Conroy said.
Latest figures indicate the existence of around 517,000 ounces of gold reserves in just 20% of the Clontibret target. On a combined basis, Conroy’s Clontibret and Clay Lake targets house an estimated six million ounces of gold. When Conroy began exploring at Clontibret there was only an estimated 4,500 ounces of gold at site.
When Canadian prospector Dalradian Resources is added to the equation, the estimated amount of recoverable gold in the northern half of Ireland rises to around 10 million ounces.
Dalradian submitted a planning application to build a gold mine at its Curraghinalt gold deposit in Omagh last month, with a view to a 25- year lifespan. Dalradian has claimed its plan will boost the local economy to the tune of €800m and represent one of the largest foreign direct investments to be made in the North.