Irish gold mine receives okay to go underground

A Canadian mining company operating the only gold mine in Ireland (Northern Ireland and the Republic) has received permission allowing it to expand underground. Dual-listed Galantas Gold Corporation (LON, CVE:GAL) announced last Thursday that the Northern Ireland Minister of Environment, Mark Durkan, has granted planning consent for an underground gold mine at the Omagh site.

Getting planning consent means that Galantas will be able to continue mining and expand output, which reached 3,200 ounces in 2012, and about half that amount in 2013 as production stopped.

“This is a significant milestone and a game changer for Galantas. Our open pit gold mine, operated until recently, is the only one in Ireland. It had excellent environmental standards, monitored with detailed studies by NIEA and used a safe processing methodology to produce a smelter concentrate," Roland Phelps, President & CEO, Galantas Gold Corporation, said in a press release.

"The underground mine will utilize the same processing methods and will be the first underground gold mine, of any scale, in Ireland. The robust results of the recent economic study, now with the positive planning determination, lead us to be confident about the establishment of a sound business based on the Omagh gold property. That business will draw upon the excellent engineering infrastructure and skilled, flexible labour pool around Omagh and create hundreds of local jobs, providing a real boost to the economy of Northern Ireland.

"Our strategy is to establish the underground mine as soon as finance is available and look for further expansion of gold resources on the property, which has many un-drilled targets."

The positive news builds on an announcement last December of a deal between Galantas Gold and TJH of Dublin over the production, marketing and sale of a range of jewellery using the firm's Irish output.

The market however was unmoved by Thursday's press release, with Galantas Gold's stock price unchanged at $0.10 a share. The tiny $9.7 million market cap company is up 50 percent year to date.