IMC seeks gold in Wicklow's slag heaps
Irish-listed mining company IMC plans to seek gold in slag heaps left over from old mines in the Wicklow mountains.
"Ireland's commitment to sustainability means that mine waste reclamation is the obvious next step for Ireland's well-established mining industry," it said in a statement.
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IMC - of which serial mining investor and former Dublin lord mayor Nial Ring is a past director and a major shareholder - said it had signed a preliminary agreement to "both clean up the environmental legacy and exploit the remaining metal that lies on the surface".
Other companies linked to Ring have faced criticism in the past for not delivering results.
But in its statement, IMC said that Wicklow's Avoca mines have "left a legacy of spoil heaps on the landscape, pollution in the river, and most importantly, metal that has been unrecoverable until now".
An Irish Government-commissioned report indicates that one million cubic metres of spoils spread over 28 hectares contain significant concentrations of copper, zinc, lead and arsenic, through which there has been seepage, the company claimed.
"One significant effect of the leaching that has occurred over the years is the liberation of fine gold grains from the minerals in which they were previously trapped.
"Our innovative combination will not use harmful reagents to separate ore from waste, but will exploit the high density of the two main economic metals in Avoca, gold and lead," it said.
IMC said it was engaged in extensive sampling, and petrographic, mineralogical and metallurgical testing. It said that results to date "have more than justified, and provided adequate data for, a JORC-compliant resource estimation of these spoils".
It is also carrying out "deep sampling to acquire expected accumulations of free gold at the base of spoil heaps".
Sunday Indo Business