The Challenge of Finding More Gold

In a remote region of Northern Ireland, rocks pulled from underground are striped with gold. It is here in County Tyrone that geologists believe lies the biggest lode of gold ever discovered in the United Kingdom.

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Dalradian Gold, which has been exploring the region for 11 years, calls it “one of the world’s most promising undeveloped gold deposits,” with more than six million ounces of gold. It is also in County Tyrone, a region of farms and wilderness, that environmentalists are rallying against Dalradian’s proposed mine. The proposal for Dalradian’s underground Curraghinalt Mine has generated tens of thousands of comments, the majority opposing the project.

“My main worry is that the water will be poisoned, the air will be poisoned, the land will be contaminated – and ultimately people’s health will suffer,” argues mining opponent Fidelma O’Kane.

Gold mining is an industrial venture that does have environmental impacts, but Dalradian Gold says it is putting safeguards in place that will make Curraghinalt Europe’s first carbon neutral mine.

It also points out that the mine represents a huge economic opportunity at a time when Northern Ireland faces uncertainty over Brexit and is trying to recover from COVID-19.

This ongoing battle is the latest challenge the gold mining industry faces as it tries to find new sources of gold at a time when it has nearly exhausted some of the most important gold mines in the world.

The situation leads analyst Matt Miller of CFRA Research to declare the gold mining industry is approaching a “major crisis,” which would mean a decline in new supplies of gold.

If gold demand were to remain steady, or continue rising, that would imply higher prices for the precious metal.

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