Why it’s getting harder to mine gold

The price of gold has rocketed during the pandemic, but mining it is getting more difficult. Chris Baraniuk reports on challenges and controversy at one of the UK’s biggest planned mines.

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For 1,000 days, the caravan stood with banners and placards pinned to its side: “We are not afraid. This is our land. This is our home. We will die for it.” Irish flags flutter in the wind. This is the anti-gold mine protest site set up by a group of locals in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

With 460 million-year-old veins of gold strewn hither and thither in the rock deep underfoot, the prospect of a mine in Curraghinalt, in a remote corner of the Sperrin mountains, has been talked about for decades – but it has never yet materialised. A recent application by a mining company to extract the seams of precious metal, has brought the prospect closer still. If […]

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