Gold miners make a breakthrough in Co. Tyrone

The hills of Donegal also contain gold deposits

Gold miners make a breakthrough in Co. Tyrone

Chris Sheppard, Flickr

Gold miners in Northern Ireland have revealed that they may be able to extract gold using a more simple and less costly process than originally planned.

The Curraghinalt project in Co Tyrone has been touted as a possible major mine for decades - although initial exploration was delayed as licences needed to use explosives were restricted during The Troubles.

Dalradian Resources, the company which is exploring the area believes that gold deposits in Northern Ireland go beyond the areas which are currently being explored.

Last year its chief officer Patrick Anderson said that he believes that conflict in the region has led to an undervaluing of possible gold mines in the six counties:

"It's not just a deposit, I think we're looking at a whole district that for various reasons to do with the history of Northern Ireland has been overlooked," he said.

The company is floated on the Canadian stock exchange - its shares rose by 5% yesterday after the announcement.

It released metallurgical test results which study the physical properties of minerals which showed gold recovery of 94.3%.

Last month it upgraded the Co Tyrone site, doubling the estimated level of deposits in the area.

Mr Anderson commented on yesterday's announcement: "We continue in our work to de-risk the project. These results demonstrate gold recoveries above 94% while also simplifying the processing and reducing the equipment required.

"Curraghinalt's mineralisation has excellent flotation and leach recoveries using industry standard, proven processing technologies. Test work shows a marked improvement in grind size compared with historical results and the resulting streamlining of the flowsheet are advantageous to the project," he said.

Tellus border survey - darker shades indicate areas where gold is more likely to be found

A number of firms in the Republic of Ireland are also looking for gold.

Tellus research published last year indicated that gold deposits along the border may be larger than originally thought.

John Teeling's Connemara Mining has been exploring Donegal and found significant gold deposits, it is currently drilling to determine whether it will be feasible to extract the precious metals.