Allihies Pic: Tourism Ireland

THIS month will see geologists carrying out work in the Allihies area as part of the ongoing exploration for copper in the area.

The man behind the exploration project, Sean O’Neill, told @bearatimes that this geophysical survey work is an important stage in the exploration process, as it can provide confirmation of the existence and location of copper-bearing rock in the area.


“This survey is based on the magnetic characteristics of the underground rocks and is one of a series of such surveys which will identify the optimum location for diamond drilling.


“t is only by drilling and examining the core samples that one can be sure of the amount and quality of copper in a particular rock formation.


“Assuming the results of the surveys are positive, it is planned to commence drilling next year,” he said.


When asked about the likelihood of a resumption of copper mining in the area, Sean said it was much too early to be conclusive about that.


“It is necessary to go through the various steps in the exploration process in order to establish if there is sufficient copper in the ground to justify the investment involved in mining operations.


“We are still at an early stage in the process. We have already carried out detailed studies of data from the original mining operation and from the exploration work done in Mountain mine in the 1950s and these studies confirm that there is a significant amount of copper in the ground.


“By using the most up to date technology, we will identify the quantity and quality of the copper, as well as its exact location. The current surveys are part of this process.


Sean’s own grandfather worked in the Kealogue Mine before it closed and is buried in Cluin Graveyard.


“He always said ‘there’s still a lot of copper down there’, so hopefully, such interesting but unscientific information can be matched by the detailed geological work now under way,” said Sean.


PIC: Allihies