Canadian firm goes for gold with copper mine stake
COPPER mining could make a return to remote parts of the Beara peninsula after almost 100 years as explorers say there may even be gold in the area.
A Canadian exploration company has agreed to buy an 80pc interest in prospecting rights around the scenic village of Allihies, Co Cork.
During a copper boom in the 19th century as many as 1,500 miners worked in the area, which is now home to a mining museum.
Today though, any attempt at large-scale extraction would be likely to provoke a backlash given the district's remoteness, scenic appeal and reliance on tourism.
Allihies is located on the Wild Atlantic Way tourist route.
Gondwana Oil Corp announced yesterday to the Canadian Securities Exchange that it had signed a "letter of intent" to buy an 80pc interest in the mining rights in the Berehaven Copper Mines.
The stake is being acquired from Westcork Copper Mining Company Limited, another Toronto-based business that has been acquiring mineral licences and conducting surveys in west Cork in recent years.
The deal is subject to approval from the Government.
"The Allihies district and the immediate mine environments of the area are very much under explored," the statement said.
"On a local scale, old mine environments offer excellent exploration targets.
"The Mountain, Caminches and Kealogue mines present such potentials.
"Gold mineralisation can be associated with vein copper deposits, contributing significantly to total recoverable metal. At Allihies, the gold concentration of the vein systems has never been thoroughly determined," it added.
Copper mining was a major industry in the area in the 19th century when technological innovations including Marconi's under-sea radio cable created huge demand for the metal.
Hundreds of workers moved to the area, including miners from Cornwall.
The mines closed in the early years of the last century and efforts to revive the industry in the 1950s were unsuccessful.
Gondwana could not be reached for comment yesterday.