Gold rays in Slovakia – again

Once upon a time there was a country hiding a lot of gold and silver in its underground and brought the fame and wealth to the kingdom.... Like this we might start telling the story of the famous mining region in Slovakia. The metal rich region spreading from the centre to the east of Slovakia has been supplying with gold and silver for centuries. The precious metals conditioned the establishment of many mining towns, flourishing mainly in the past and attracting experts to explore, mine and process.

Despite mining being stopped in the country almost 20 years ago, the towns still enjoy the consequences of mining – development of tourism, historical and technical sights enriching both history and design of the country, field education – technical universities, cooperation with other mining regions in Europe, traditions issuing from mining fraternities, etc.

While pensioned miners remind us the past, new companies come to Slovakia to explore mineral endowment. This is also where many stories of geologist and miners start. With their ambitions, plans, projects and hopes. When EMED Mining made a decision to explore look for gold, they had to choose the place. The geology of Slovakia provides simple solutions as much of the country is formed by volcanic mountains and as known from the past and also mentioned above there is a long history of gold mining before and a big potential for future as well.

This first option of EMED Mining was the right one. Its subsidiary EMED Slovakia was established in order to find perspective gold deposits. Even before its establishment there were porphyry systems identified in Central Slovakia, in the mountain range called Javorie. These were not analysed for gold then. Before 1989, the milestone of Slovak history, geological services conducted several kilometres long drillholes but they did not analyse the samples for gold. A company called Rhodes came and was the first one to discover gold deposit at Klokoč, a part of Javorie – which was definitely a revolutionary discovery at the time as none of geological institutes expected the presence of gold in porphyry systems. The drilling followed immediately after the discovery of Biely Vrch /the name of a very small local mountain/ occurred. Biely Vrch was identified as an intrusive centre with many alterations, but as it was situated right by a „military factory“ called PPS, no other exploration was allowed.

The Velvet Revolution in 1989 brought changes to PPS so exploration could resume. Another drilling led directly to the centre of an alteration. Mr. Ivan Lexa, the dedicated geologist did not give up and he analysed several soil rock chip samples with surprising results – he discovered gold and EMED Slovakia was recommended to explore the territory. Soil geochemistry outlined an anomaly of 500 x 300 m while containing over 100 ppb of gold. In 2006 drilling followed and final results warranted the announcement of a discovery that came out as a surprise – the location has a huge potential to become a gold deposit. After defining a gold resource the location was declared a gold deposit in 2010, the first grass root discovery of 1 Moz gold deposit in Slovakia. The discovery of Biely Vrch deposit initiated extensive exploration in central zone of Javorie stratovolcano, but unfortunately no other gold deposits of economic interest were identified.

So an attractive gold deposit was discovered again in the famous metal region and might bring propserity back. EMED Slovakia has gone through a difficult system of official permits and is getting ready for EIA process. The company policy is transparency and permanent reporting to dmeonstrate adherence to demanding conditions. They have opened an information centre, held community meetings etc. ....but like many other European mining companies they face the strong opposition led by local activists. What the company provides is a list of precisely elaborated benefits for the region and the state,including the increase of employment, cooperation with nearby local companies processing components for mining industry, public monitoring, progressive recultivation and active involvement into regional social life. Hopefully, the company will succeed in its steps and Slovakia will become a European treasure trove again.

Beata Nemcová, EMED Slovakia