Gold that was found in a borehole in Þormóðsdalur valley by Lake Hafravatn on the outskirts of Reykjavík this week measured 400 grams per ton of rock, the highest quantity found of the precious metal in Iceland.
Director of Innovation Center Iceland Þorsteinn Ingi Sigfússon told Fréttablaðið that abroad gold is sometimes mined when only four grams of the metal per ton of rock are found.
“It can be mined, most samples look promising,” Þorsteinn said of the Icelandic gold. “But we must be certain that the geothermal heat system in Þormóðsdalur delivers high enough quantities overall before any operations can be undertaken.”
The company Málmís has drilled in the area for some time in the hopes of finding enough gold for mining but that has not been the case so far.
Innovation Center Iceland has examined and estimated the samples collected by Málmís in Þormóðsdalur with the assistance of an unnamed British company specializing in precious metals.
Þorsteinn stated that the gold is also cleaner in Iceland than in many mining areas abroad. “The geothermal water has washed it out without trace elements as in other places. It is therefore cleaner and this could become a more environmentally-friendly project here than in many locations overseas.”
Environmentalists have criticized gold mining as high quantities of quicksilver are used to separate the precious metal from the rock and the chemical is often washed out into the environment.
Fréttablaðið was unable to reach Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Svandís Svavarsdóttir for comment.