Ireland has potentially become one of the world’s most fruitful sources of gold after a recent discovery in Co Monaghan. Experts tested in the Clontibret area and found that the ground could yield up to 50,000 ounces of gold per year, worth around €70m.
The news will come as quite a shock to most people in Ireland, who have traditionally been told that their country has few natural resources.
The discovery has prompted an investment of over €1m from businesses interested in gaining the rights over mining the area.
A technique called Biox, a method of separating any gold from the sulphur in the earth, was used to test the ground in Monaghan. The results showed that the earth taken would be able to yield between 87 and 91% of the recoverable gold.
There should be a mine up and running by late 2016, creating hundreds of jobs and giving the Irish economy a welcome boost.
Prof Richard Conroy, the chairman and founder Conroy Gold and Natural Resources PLC who carried out the tests said:
“It shows that the process is viable and now we can go ahead with doing the rest of the work that the technical people have to do so we can submit an application for planning permission and a mining permit. We have enough gold to become a significant producer for decades to come.”
The new found wealth is not exclusive to Monaghan either. Ireland’s first gold mine for 2,000 years was set up near Co Omagh recently, after a similar test was carried out.
A geological survey carried out by the government found potential gold mines on the Monaghan-Cavan border, and in Co Cavan, Co Sligo and Co Donegal.
Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh may have got Monaghan wrong in thinking that it yielded nothing but Stony Grey Soil, the name of his popular poem.