Australian company in deal to search for gold in North
Walkabout Resources has signed joint venture with Turkish-owned miner
Walkabout claims the Slieve Gallion licence shows signs of base metal mineralisation and gold. Photograph: iStock
The Australian company Walkabout Resources is to expand its “Northern Ireland exploration footprint” after agreeing a new deal with a Turkish-owned mining firm to search for gold and other precious metals near Slieve Gallion.
Walkabout Resources has signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Koza UK which held a mineral prospecting licence for an area about 20 km from the Curraghinalt gold resource, which is owned by Dalradian Resources and where the Canadian company wants to develop a controversial gold mine in Tyrone.
Dalradian is seeking planning permission for its underground mine which has been met with significant opposition from some local community groups and environmental organisations.
Walkabout has only had a presence in the North since last November following its acquisition of an exploration portfolio from the British company Lonmin plc.
This portfolio had included an existing JV arrangement with Koza in the Dalradian Gold Belt but Walkabout has confirmed it has also agreed a new Slieve Gallion JV licence with Koza which the Australian company claims is “highly prospective for base metal mineralisation and gold”.
Under the terms of the deal Walkabout could take control of 75 per cent of the Slieve Gallion JV with a minimum spend of US $500,000 (€409,000) in exploration costs and a further 25 per cent following the publication of a feasibility study.
Trevor Benson, executive chairman of Walkabout, said the new JV supported the company’s ambitions to “diversify into potential growth opportunities” and could expand its total exploration area in the North to 1,250km.
In a separate development the Australian group has also told shareholders that it has identified evidence of cobalt-copper-silver occurrences in the Slieve Gallion area.
Mr Benson said: “The presence of potentially significant cobalt mineralisation, in a stable jurisdiction such as Northern Ireland, further enhances the value of our diversified portfolio.”