A DIAMOND mining company is continuing its exploration of the Fermanagh countryside, although not for the luxury gems but for precious and valuable metals.
Karelian Diamond Resources PLC has been carrying out exploration in the county for several years now after previously being granted a licence to prospect in the Coonian and Brookeborough area. It reported “exciting” results from its initial tests.
In October last year it was granted another two licences, adding to the one it had already held, and expanding its area of exploration out into the wider Tempo area too.
As Karelian is a diamond mining company, and is currently exploring and sampling for diamonds in an area of Finland, when it first began local exploration previous many in the county recalled the old tales of diamonds appearing in Fermanagh rivers, such as the famous ‘Brookeborough Diamond’ found in the 1800s.
However, the company has said so far its results have indicated the presence of nickel, copper and platinum group metals. These metals, which are often mined together, are particularly valuable in the modern age.
For example, nickel is a key component of renewable batteries, including for hybrid vehicles, and is used in many electrical items.
Copper, common place in everyday life, is also used in many electrical items, while platinum is not only much sought after in the jewellery world, but is also used in catalytic converters for vehicles.
In a statement released on Monday this week, Karelian said it would be continuing to explore locally after previous stream sediment sampling confirmed the presence of “indicator minerals” which they said “are indicative of the possible presence of nickel-copper-platinum mineralisation.”
“The exploration targets on these three licences are based on the mafic and/or ultramafic dyke sill complexes in the area which are similar to those that are known to host the world class Norilsk nickel–copper–platinum deposits,” said a company spokesman, referring to a major nickel mine in Russia.
“A stream sediment sampling programme for nickel–copper–platinum indicator minerals on the newly acquired licences is planned to commence shortly.”
Chairman of Karelian Diamond Resources PLC, Prof Richard Conroy, said he was “delighted” sampling work would be starting shortly Fermanagh, as well as in Finland, where the company is exploring the possible presence of a high number of rare pink diamonds.
“We look forward to seeing the results as they come in,” said Prof Conroy. “The work, in both cases, will give us additional information.”
Both nickel and platinum are highly sought after in the current eco-conscious market, with nickel often lauded as an alternative to lithium in the production of electric car batteries, and platinum seen as effective at converting emissions from the vehicle’s engine into less harmful waste products.
However, while the mining of the metals does not carry the same ethical concerns as others such as lithium and graphite, experts have noted the extraction of these metals has come at an environmental and health cost in countries where the mines already exist.
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