Irish prospectors strike gold again

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The Independent Online

Prospectors who discovered what is believed to be the biggest untapped gold mine in Britain or Ireland have struck lucky again, they said today.

Conroy Diamonds and Gold found the precious metal outside a small village in the Irish Republic last year and say they have uncovered more valuable metal several miles over the border in the former conflict-ridden south Armagh.

Share prices in the company rocketed by more than 40 per cent after it formally announced the value of the deposits at Clay Lake, near Keady, to the London Stock Exchange.

Professor Richard Conroy, the company's chairman and a former Irish senator, said there was a lot of work ahead but the mine could be worth hundreds of millions of euro.

Conroy began moving into Northern Ireland after striking gold in the hills outside Clontibret, Co Monaghan, where it has begun a feasibility study which could allow mining to begin within two years.

The deposits there were valued last July at up to 570 million euro (£500 million), but gold prices have soared since then, as they traditionally do in times of economic uncertainty.

Further tests along the border led the exploration company to an area near former lead mines around Derrynoose in the republican heartland known as Bandit Country during the Troubles.

The company said there will be a couple of years of slow and painstaking work before it can carry out an economic viability on the mine.

Geologists will drill down to the bedrock, and see what grades of gold they find along the seam.