Page last updated at 19:59 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 20:59 UK

Gold seam discovered in Monaghan

The gold seam runs under Armagh, across Monaghan and into Cavan

A huge untapped seam of gold has been discovered near Clontibret in County Monaghan.

The seam, found by Conroy Diamonds and Gold, is believed to be the biggest ever located in Ireland.

Company chairman Professor Richard Conroy said he was delighted by the size of the discovery.

"It's over a million ounces of gold and that's a lot of gold by anyone's standard," he said.

The company issued a formal announcement to the London Stock Exchange saying that it had found the gold, worth around 450m.

"It's a large deposit but it's a low grade deposit so the price of gold becomes very very relevant," said Professor Conroy.

"At present prices it should be economic, so we would expect the feasibility studies to take 18 months to two years, and then we have to go through the planning process, and get a mining licence and then construction can start."

It is thought that the gold covers an area 30 miles in length and Professor Conroy is hopeful of success in Northern Ireland.

"It runs across Armagh, across Monaghan and into Cavan and we're doing quite a lot of work in Armagh.

"We've high hopes of repeating the success of Clontibret in Armagh but it still requires a lot more work. We certainly would hope that something similar would be found," he said.

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