Irish Natural Resources

Large – Scale Zinc Find in Co. Clare
June 26, 2008, 11:55 pm
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Multinational mining firms are queuing secure involvement inĀ  what could be Ireland’s largest zinc find since the Lisheen mine was developed in the early 1990s.

Xstrata (formerly Noranda), Tech Cominco and Rio Tinto, are understood to be among those excited by the new discovery at Quinn, Co Clare, by Irish-owned Belmore Resources.

The find was located close to the 19th century Kilbricken lead mine, in the Monanoe townland, and at the base of a large calcite deposit.

Belmore, run by former Ovoca and Bula director Pat Mahoney, drilled a single hole at the Quinn prospect and encountered a 10-metre mineralisation zone, containing 14pc zinc and 5.5pc lead, at a depth of 450 metres. Silver was also present at a grading of 62.84 grams per tonne.

The grades are among the highest ever encountered during drilling for zinc or lead in Ireland, rivalling the best results from the Minco prospect at Pallas Green in Co Limerick.

Belmore is now considering its next step, which will probably involver further drilling to outline the full extent of the mineralisation.

By doing so, the directors believe they will boost the attractiveness of the venture to possible partners, including Xstrata and Tech Minco, both of whom are carrying out major exploration programmes on zinc prospects in Co Limerick.

Tech Cominco is the joint venture partner of Connemara Mining and has encountered a significant deposit of lead-zinc in the Stonepark area of Co Limerick. Xstrata meanwhile is in a joint venture with Minco and has spent the past three years drilling on a large zinc find at Pallas Green in Limerick.

Further positive results would help boost the company’s share price, Mr Mahoney stated, adding he would be reluctant to conduct a fund raising at the current share price.

Shares in the group are trading at about 6p each, and while this is twice their level before news of the Co Clare zinc find broke, a funding now would still involve a substantial dilution in equity for the existing stockholders.

The three major shareholders are Mr Mahoney (15pc), company chairman Ian Forest (16pc) and exploration expert George Eno (16pc).