WE'RE sitting on a goldmine. Literally.
Prospectors have struck gold in North Wexford, and say the samples taken to date have the potential to yield hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold and other precious metals.
'It was very exciting,' said Liam McGrattan, who works in Investor Relations with the IMC Exploration Group plc. ' We drilled three holes in the Wexford area, and there was gold in three of them which was very unusual. It's an extraordinary result to find gold in three out of three.'
' We feel that with the three out of three, and the high gold rate, you could have up to a million ounces of gold or maybe more in that site,' he said. 'It's hard to put a figure on it at this stage. That's only speculative. It could be much more or it much less.'
Gold currently trades at $1,600 an ounce, and factoring in $200 an ounce extracting costs, the site could yield $1,400 an ounce. ' We can't say at this stage how much gold is there,' said Liam. 'It's like asking how long is a piece of string.'
The site is located at Kilmichael, which is inland near Gorey town. The holes were drilled in the past few weeks, and the company announced the results of its analysis late last week.
' We knew they were very good, but we were overwhelmed by the grade we got in the three holes,' said Liam.
He added that the landowner is 'over the moon' at the news. ' This is a real gold find in North Wexford,' he emphasised, pointing out that IMC Exploration Group is listed on the plus market on the London Stock Exchange.
'As a positive result for the county, it's phenomenal,' he said.
Another exploration company, Hendrick Resources, conducted an aerial survey for gold over the summer, but has yet to do any drilling.
Liam said that IMC has all the permissions in place to continue drilling. It is currently drilling in Avoca, but will return to North Wexford for further drilling in the coming weeks.
' We're very confident that it is a gold mine,' he said. ' Wicklow and Wexford have a great tradition of gold mining.' Other precious metals such as copper and silver were also found.
' This is a pretty big strike. I'd compare it to the oil strike off the coast of Cork recently,' said Liam.
'If we got two big strikes we could get rid of the IMF and the ECB out of the country,' he joked. ' The company is well funded to continue its drilling campaign. We have recourse to the markets. We're in this to create a gold mine and we'd never try to get investors in it if we weren't serious about what we're doing.'
He said the operation would require and underground mine, meaning a huge jobs boost for the local community.
Executive Chairman of the company is Hugh Gibney, one of the founders of Tara Mine forty years ago.