The first modern commercial gold mine in Ireland could be established over the next three years in Co. Monaghan following an agreement between two mining companies.
The mine is set to be located in Clontibret and once it gets up and running it could provide between 150 and 200 jobs, according to Irish firm Conroy Gold and Natural Resources, which has partnered with the Azerbaijan-based company Anglo Asian Mining. Anglo Asian Mining has said that it will invest a total of €4million, owning 25% of the new venture. It will also be covering the costs of bringing the pair to the stage of having a mining permit for the venture. Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail, chairman of Conroy Gold Professor Richard Conroy said: ‘We’ll probably be doing about 18 months of intensive drilling. If that all goes as well as we hope and expect it will, then it will take at least another 18 months to go through the necessary permitting processes to end up with a mining permit.
‘You are looking probably at least three years – that is possibly being a bit optimistic but it will be something in that sort of order before we’ll be actually able to go in to mine.’ Mr Conroy said that the company has spent years prospecting for gold in this region and it now estimates that there could be around 500,000 ounces of the precious metal in the Clontibret site alone. He added that there could potentially be a lot more because this gold source was found at a ‘relatively shallow level’.
Part of the agreement with Anglo Asian Mining also means that the two companies will explore further deposits of gold in the geological area known as the Longford-Down Massif.
Mr Conroy said that their teams have identified gold deposits along a 65km stretch running from Armagh, through Monaghan and into Cavan. Conroy Gold also owns gold exploration licences in Finland.