New York-based equity fund buys Ireland-focused Dalradian for Cdn$537m

s in dual-listed Dalradian Resources (TSX:DNA) (LON:DALR) soared around 52% in London and more than 59% in Toronto on Thursday after the company, which is developing a vast gold deposit in Northern Ireland, said it had agreed to be bought by Orion Mine Finance, in a desal that values the gold explorer at Cdn$537 million (about $230m).

As part of the agreement, each Dalradian shareholder would receive cash consideration of Cdn$1.47 for each Dalradian share held, which represents a 62% premium to Wednesday’s closing price of company’s stock in Toronto.

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Dalradian acquired mineral rights in 2009 to more than 80,000 hectares of land in Northern Ireland, including the Curraghinalt gold deposit outside Gortin, identified as one of the top ten undeveloped gold deposits by grade in the world.

Since then, it has carried out exploratory drilling at the asset and compiled a planning application running to 10,000 pages, which it expects to take about two years to process, including a public enquiry.

The Toronto-based miner said last month it planned to operate the proposed gold mine for an initial 20 years, though it says Curraghinalt has the potential to remain in production longer than that.

The project, for which Dalradian has yet to secure the permits needed to build it, is estimated to hold 3.1 million ounces of gold reserves — worth about $3.9 billion at today’s prices.

If it gets the green-light, Dalradian has said Curraghinalt could transform one of the poorest regions in the UK, boosting investment and creating jobs. The company already employs 100 people on the project and the number would rise to 350 workers once the mine is operating, plus hundreds more indirect jobs.

Northern Ireland has the seventh richest undeveloped seam of gold in the world, but political violence kept most investors away for about three decades.

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