Wednesday 20 September 2017

Irish hunt oil in Taliban country

Roisin Burke

A small Irish mining company is braving war-ravaged Afghanistan in a daring venture backed by John Teeling and others.

IMC Exploration Group will seek oil and gas as well as gold and silver finds there through a team-up with Dubai company, Harvest Resources.

For years resource-rich Northern Afghanistan was relatively peaceful, but Taliban insurgents have lately been running amok, with a suicide bomb killing 21 last month.

"Unfortunately these possibilities are often in difficult regions," IMC director investor Liam McGrattan said last week. "We're not daunted by Afghanistan. The oil and gas and gold will be in the ground after the conflict has finished."

The US defence department estimates Afghanistan's resources are worth billions.

IMC is backed by veteran exploration entrepreneur John Teeling, Burren Energy founder Roger Norwich and Great Western Mining's Emmett O'Connell.

"Hopefully we could be looking at a new Tullow if we get a big play in Afghanistan," McGrattan said. "It has potential to add tens of millions in value to a relatively small company." Listed on London's PLUS market, IMC has a market cap of €5.6m.

McGrattan, who has been residing in the Shelbourne Hotel for over a year while his Clontarf home is renovated, met with the Afghan energy minister this year.

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