Gold is sought after not only for investment purposes and for jewellery, but it is also used in the manufacturing of certain electronic and medical devices. The demand for gold, the amount of gold in the central banks’ reserves, the value of the U.S. dollar and the desire to hold gold as a hedge against inflation and currency devaluation, all help drive the price of gold.
According to the World Gold Council, gold prices are robust following reappraisal of gold’s role and relevance after the 2008 financial crisis, western banks have ceased sell-offs and eastern banks are buying bullion. Consumer demand in China is growing amongst the newly affluent.
The perceived political risk observed in many countries where gold is mined and the rise of so-called resource-nationalism has brought stable jurisdictions such as Ireland and Northern Ireland back into the limelight. At present only the small Galántas mine in Omagh is operating, elsewhere at the Curraghinalt Project, Dalradian Resources have established a 1.4 Moz reserve.
Ireland has always been prospective for gold and continues to have a significant number of prospectors throughout Ireland. Since the 1790’s the Mines River area has been synonymous with gold. A number of finds of alluvial gold in rivers and streams in the area resulted in the ‘Avoca Gold Rush’ in the late 1700’s – early 1800’s. The British sent a detachment to control the situation but the soldiers joined the panning. It was a short lived boom but since then numerous unsuccessful attempts have been made to find the mother lode. It is said that Charles Stuart Parnell panned the river behind his house, Avonmore, in the Wicklow hills, until he had enough gold to make a wedding ring for Kitty O’Shea. In recent years a Garda in Naas using a metal detector found in the Wicklow hills some large beautiful nuggets. Connemara Mining has always been a big believer in ‘closeology’ i.e. the best place to find gold is where gold has already been discovered. There is significant information on the prospectivity of the area as earlier explorers had previously spent a significant amount of money looking for the source of the Avoca gold rush.
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