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Irish Mining Legend David Hough Dies

The death occurred last Wednesday of David Hough, chief executive of the Limerick based oil and gas exploration firm Circle Oil.  Mr Hough, one of the first Irish entrepreneurs to be involved in Irish oil exploration, died in Abu Dhabi, aged 58.

A University College Galway geology graduate, Dave Hough joined the exploration game and travelled extensively abroad. In 1987 he was in Canada to established a company called Circle Resources in Vancouver.  A year later he was back home, financing an exploration operation in Limerick called Ivernia West. Mr Hough set up the exploration firm Ivernia West in 1988.  The firm, with oil giant Chevron, would claim to discover zinc ore at Lisheen in Co Tipperary.

Mr Hough is one of only a handful of Irish mining men who disproved the geography books, by both finding and bringing into production an Irish metalliferous mine in the 20th century and was the very mainspring behind the Lisheen orebody find, in Tipperary.

Mr Hough’s story is one of not only persistence, but it is also a sullen depressing tale of the mining industry in the past 30 years. It starts usually displaying great promise, is then halted by the usual and seemingly endless stream of ownership and legal disputes which waste badly needed company resources. When it does finally gets into production, the international price cycle for metals take a down turn world wide.

However, two years later, with the exploration major Chevron in to assist, the company hits pay-dirt, zinc is confirmed at Lisheen, Co Tipperary. It would be however, nine long years of delays and legal wrangles before Lisheen would come into full production.

Mr Hough, as then chief executive of Ivernia West for 15 years, stepped down from his position in 2003. His departure from the helm of the company he founded, coincided with the sale of its last Irish asset, namely the 50% stake in the Lisheen zinc mine here in Co Tipperary.
In 2003, Mr Hough set up Circle Oil with licences in Namibia, Panama, in the Caribbean and in the Celtic Sea.

To his family and numerous friends go our deepest and heart-felt sympathies.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

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