Dalradian Resources, the Canadian- and London-listed group which wants to develop a controversial gold mine at Curraghinalt in Tyrone, has attracted a takeover bid that values the company at C$537 million (€348 million).
The US private equity firm, Orion Mine Finance, which had previously held a 20.4 per cent share in Dalradian wants to buy the vast majority of the remaining shares that it does not already hold. Directors and senior officers of Dalradian have entered into agreements to support the offer.
Under the terms of the deal, Dalradian shareholders will receive C$1.47 for each share held.
Orion has said it will not acquire shares held by certain members of the company’s senior management team or those held by Sean Roosen and Osisko Gold Royalties which last October invested $28.2 million in Dalradian.
According to Oskar Lewnowski, chief investment officer of Orion, it believes that Dalradian’s Northern Ireland operations represent “one of the world’s best undeveloped gold deposits”.
“Curraghinalt gets more exciting as additional exploration and engineering work is completed, the recent positive resource update being just the latest example.
“We look forward to working with the core Dalradian management team to secure planning permission for a world-class mine using best-in-class mining, processing and environmental standards,” he said.
Dalradian last year formally applied for planning permission to develop a gold mine at Curraghinalt in Co Tyrone where, it said, it had identified a deposit of “a lode gold system”.
It previously claimed the gold project had the potential to create more than 350 jobs in the North.
It is one of two Canadian groups who have pursued plans to dig for gold in Tyrone – the second Galantas Gold Corporation, also listed in Toronto and London, owns a gold mine near Omagh.
Dalradian has claimed that in the last ten years it has “transformed a virtual grassroots discovery into one of the world’s best and highest grade gold deposits”.
But during this time it has also met with fierce opposition in Northern Ireland from environmentalists and local activists who claim that the company’s proposals could result in potential water and air pollution.
Cormac McAleer, from the Save Our Sperrins group previously said: “We have a massive resource in Curraghinalt in terms of archaeology and sadly this company would do away with that for the sake of short-term wealth for a very small number of people.”
But Patrick FN Anderson, chief executive of Dalradian, believes that both Orion and Osisko are “showing great confidence in Northern Ireland.”
“Their goals as strategic investors are completely aligned with ours – to secure planning permission for an underground gold mine and continue advancing the project in a way that benefits all our stakeholders.
“We will continue to work closely with community members, all levels of government, employees, contractors and local suppliers toward building one of the world’s top gold mines.”