Canadian gold rush in Ulster pit mine
A Canadian mining company has ramped up its production of gold from an open pit mine near Omagh.
Galantas Gold Corporation, which is listed both on London's Alternative Investment Market and in Toronto, said yesterday it produced 201.5kg of gold last year, a jump of around 15% on 2010.
At the current gold price of $1,655 (£1,037) an ounce, Galantas' haul would fetch nearly £7m on the open market.
It also saw production of silver increase to 531.3kg in 2011 but with silver only trading at around $30 (£18) an ounce, the value from that metal is much smaller at around $300,000 (£188,000).
The company extracts the two metals, along with a small amount of lead and other metals, from rock it digs at the open Kearney pit mine in Cavanacaw just outside Omagh.
It said wet weather had impeded digging at the mine during the year as had problems with disposing of surplus rock, which it has had to stockpile.
Galantas said it obtained planning permission to transport the surplus rock from the Kearney pit in December 2011 but, because of restrictions attached to the permit, it will be some months before it can start the process.
As a result, its output levels will be reduced and it will be forced to continue with a small number of redundancies from its workforce of 50.
Despite this, test drills have found gold at deeper levels and if its plans to drill underground are passed by the planning department, the company said it could add another 100 employees and increase gold production significantly.
"The focus of operations in 2012 is expected to be directed towards achieving all that is necessary to establish an underground operation," Roland Phelps, president and CEO of Galantas Corporation said.
Galantas said net income climbed by 114% to CAD-$1,610,990 (£1,022,012) in 2011.
The net income of Galantas, a Canadian mining company, in 2011