Conroy Gold and Natural Resources says it has been granted seven prospecting licences in Clare, Tipperary and Kilkenny.

The licences cover about 300 square kilometres in areas where gold has been reported before. All the three counties have similar geology to the Armagh/Monaghan gold belt where the company is moving towards the development of its first mine.

''I am delighted that the company has been granted these licences in lithologies similar to those of the Armagh-Monaghan gold belt, where we have been so successful,'' commented the company's chairman Richard Conroy.

He said he especially welcomes working again in Co Kilkenny where management were previously involved in the discovery and development of zinc orebodies at Galmoy which he says revived the Irish base metal industry.

Ormonde expands Spanish gold drilling

Exploration company Ormonde Mining says it has started an expanded drilling programme at the Zamora gold project in western Spain with its joint venture partner Aurum Mining.

This follows recent positive results from initial drilling at the project. Ormonde said two of three holes drilled returned "significant gold mineralisation".