Conroy Gold is in discussions with "at least half a dozen" global mining companies about a joint venture to develop a number of gold mines across Monaghan, Cavan and Armagh, the Sunday Independent has learned.
Conroy - which believes it could be sitting on very significant gold deposits in the Border regions - saw its share price jump by close to 50pc last week, meaning it has risen 160pc since the start of the year.
"This is a major find and that has been recognised in industry terms, and it is now being recognised on the stock market," said founder and chairman Professor Richard Conroy.
The company is looking to put in place a joint venture to finance and develop at least three gold mines along a 60km gold trend that it has discovered in the Border region. Efforts to bring on board a major international mining player have "moved a long way", with visits from geologists and senior executives of six separate companies in recent months to Conroy's main Clontibret site.
"The interest is there, we've had the visits, and the message is certainly out there in the industry and beginning to go out to the market that this could be something quite serious," said Conroy.
"It's nice to see the share price move towards the asset value. It's very pleasant to see and I think people are beginning to realise the sheer size of the discovery that we have made and the potential.
"It has taken a long time, but major exploration does tend to take a long time."
Conroy said that the company had invested up to €19m on developing the project to date. Shares were trading at 14.75p on Friday.
Potential joint venture partners would likely want to take a stake of at least 50pc in the company, but would finance the next phase of development.
Concern that the project has moved too slowly has created friction with some major shareholders in the past and Conroy said that proposed timelines would play a part in deciding on a joint venture partner.
He said: "We have something that could be very big in international terms, but one of the big majors could put a longer timeline on it than a smaller company might. There have been one or two ripples, but shareholders have by and large been very patient. But it is time now for us to have these discussions and we'd like to move on with it."
Sunday Indo Business