Firm hopes site will be operating in three years
CONROY Gold and Natural Resources (CG&NR) has moved a step closer to achieving its plan for a €60m gold mine at Clontibret in Co Monaghan after it received good news from the first in a batch of necessary metallurgical tests.
The rock texture and hardness results from specialists goldfields, which were disclosed yesterday, showed a lower abrasion index than was expected but a harder ore (moderate) than was initially thought.
This means that the gold in the rock is readily mineable but indicates that two mills rather than one will be required to crush and grind the extracted material. Both a ball mill and a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill will now be required.
"We're pleased with this latest report," said chairman and founder Professor Richard Conroy yesterday. "The next set of results we're now awaiting from South Africa are those from the floatation tests which will determine what percentage amount of the gold we can successfully extract.
"We're expecting the tests to indicate a percentage of around 86pc to 88pc and any amount over 80pc will be comfortable. We expect these results to be available within three weeks."
"After these come the biological oxidation tests which will sort out how expensive it will be to extract the gold."
CG&NR has been involved with the Clontibret site for 14 years and has already estimated through drill testing that the gold content is in order of one million ounces – a potential for around 50,000 ounces per year from a 20pc portion of the site.
More recently it identified a 30-mile-long trench which shows gold at several points along a line from Keady in Armagh right across Monaghan and which the company now has under licence.
"Of course there are still some hurdles to go at Clontibret, but if we clear these tests, and then get our mining permit and planning permission, we could have a mine operating there within three years and providing important employment in the the area," added Prof Conroy.