Is there gold in the Galtees?


Is there gold in the Galtees?

People living in and around the Galty Mountains will no doubt have noticed a convoy of yellow and blue painted trucks, some with drilling equipment mounted, travelling the roads in the area.

Sunday, 31 March 2013
9:00 AM GMT

People living in and around the Galty Mountains will no doubt have noticed a convoy of yellow and blue painted trucks, some with drilling equipment mounted, travelling the roads in the area. After some enquiring The Avondhu discovered that they belong to a mining company called Devoy Mineral Resources SA, a French Canadian mining company, which is seeking to discover if gold mining is a viable proposition in the area.

It appears that there are several areas in Ireland which are in the process of being surveyed with samples being taken for analysis - the Galty Mountain area being one of them.

Gold mining in Ireland is nothing new. In 1796 a gold rush took place in Avoca after a schoolboy found a gold nugget, this resulted with local people rushing around the area – digging where they thought there may be traces of the rare mineral and ‘panning’ the local rivers in the hope that they would get rich quick.

In the Wexford/Wicklow border region a Donegal mining company has recently joined force with Hendrick Resources, a Canadian Firm, in the hope of discovering deposits of gold over 200 years since the first discovery by that lucky schoolboy. In a press statement the company has stated that “A fresh look at the gold potential of gold deposits in Ireland is long overdue especially in view of the new sophisticated cutting edge technology which is now available” Some of the new technology includes aeromagnetic surveys which have already thrown up some very promising results.

County Tyrone in particular appears to offer commercial gold mining prospects. In the Currinahault area, recent results have yielded gold grades of over half an ounce per tonne of ore, suggesting that a viable and commercially successful gold mine is possible. For many years Conroy Gold and Diamonds has been exploring for gold in the Fermanagh and Monaghan region where several low grade deposits have been earmarked for further analysis. IMC, an Irish Company and another Canadian company TNR Gold, Vancouver, hold considerable mining rights in Wicklow and Wexford, with both companies seeking the source of the 1796 discovery.

It is said that Charles Stewart Parnell panned the river at the rear of his home in Avonmore in the Wicklow hills until he had acquired enough gold to make a wedding ring for Kitty O’Shea. Fact or fiction – we don’t know!

With the market price of gold rocketing over the past number of years it appears that areas of Ireland, which contain traces of the precious material, are now being looked at in a new light with the possibility of them being viable and commercial mining propositions. Maybe the Galty will become a mining area if gold is discovered in significant amounts and perhaps local and tourist will be allowed to ‘pan’ for gold in the many streams and rivers surrounding the mountains, all very exciting.

The search for gold in the Galty Mountains may not come to anything, as has been the case in many gold mining attempts over the past centuries. In many cases the amount of gold grades in the ore have been minimal and not worth the effort to extract. The question still remains - Is there gold in the Galty Mountains? No doubt we will find out in the fullness of time, however it should be remembered that in many past mining ventures, several huge nuggets where discovered by keen amateur miners who thought that they had made their fortunes, however the yellow metal they had dug up turned out to be nothing more than iron pyrite - also known as ‘fools gold’ - a very appropriate name considering the month we are about to enter.


Lismore man finds gold in Alaska

One local person who does know what it is like to ‘pan’ for gold is Lismore man Tommy Keating. In June 2011, after a 13 hour flight from London and via Chicargo, Tommy arrived in one of America’s wildest and beautiful areas - Anchorage, Alaska. Tommy, who just lives and breathes Alaska, sampled many of the attractions in the area, one of them being the experience of ‘panning’ for gold.

The Alaskan Tourist Board offer visitors the opportunity to ‘pan’ in the famous Crow River. After providing you with an expert demonstration on the methodology of ‘panning’ for the precious metal, they let you loose to make the ‘big find’. The Tourist Board charge $20 for the privilege of panning for your own gold and allow you a complete day to find it. Afterwards they assess and weigh your ‘catch’ and return it to you contained in a small vial for you to keep. Not many punters make more than the $20 charge, however it is an experience not to be missed says Tommy and to prove how keen he is on Alaska and its wildlife, its breathtaking views and the gold, he is returning to the Yukon and Dawson City in the Klondike in late June/July this year. Maybe this year he will hit the jackpot in Crow River!

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