The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 18, 2011

Somerset man hoping to prospect creeks for gold

FAIRHOPE — Western Pennsylvania was built on iron and steel but, if one prospector’s dream comes true, its future could be gilded with gold.

The state confirmed Friday that Paul Conroy of Somerset has written a letter to Pennsylvania officials discussing his plans to prospect for gold in Wills Creek and Brush Run in Fairhope Township.

“It’s a first” for western Pennsylvania, said John Poister, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection in Pittsburgh.

Conroy – who couldn’t immediately be reached Friday – said in his letter that he was looking to undertake “recreational prospecting” in the creeks.

Pennsylvania does have a bit of gold-mining history. Poister said gold has been found in eastern Pennsylvania, “where the geology is different.”

“Our people don’t believe there is much in there (Wills Creek and Brush Run) in the way of gold,” he said. “But with gold prices at record highs, if there’s even a trace someplace, that becomes cost-effective with even a few ounces.”

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