Australian interest in Ireland

Australian nickel producer Mincor Resources is broadening its geographical growth after consolidating control of a highly sought-after lead-zinc exploration land package near Tipperary in the Republic of Ireland, in the heart of a very active base metal exploration and production provinces.

Mincor says that its Tipperary Joint Venture, established late last year with private company Fractore, has been awarded three new Prospecting Licences (PLs) following a competitive tender process. All three were ‘Competition Areas’ and were keenly contested by a number of other mining companies.

The new PLs adjoin a substantial package of ground already held by the JV, expanding the combined holdings to form a contiguous area of some 309 km2 and covering up to 30 km of the strike of the highly prospective Rathdowney Trend – a major structural lineament thought to control the location of the large producing zinc-lead mines of Lisheen and Galmoy some 40 km to the northeast.

This district is currently a focal point of exploration activity for zinc and lead, with major companies including Anglo American, Teck Cominco, Boliden and Xstrata, together with numerous smaller companies, competing for access to high-quality ground. Over the past 40 years a series of major zinc-lead discoveries, such as the giant Navan deposit (>90Mt), have added to the profile of the region, with Ireland now the largest zinc producer in Europe.

Mincor commenced exploration in Ireland in December 2006, with initial work west of Tipperary on PL 3782. Following detailed geophysical and stratigraphic studies, Mincor drilled a stratigraphic hole that confirmed the location and depth of the prospective Walsortian stratigraphy.

The JV subsequently applied for and was granted a further seven tenements. The additional three tenements that have just been granted now complete an extensive and highly prospective land package within this major zinc-lead province.

Apart from their location along the Rathdowney Trend, the three new PLs contain three widely-spaced drill-holes completed by previous explorers that intersected zinc-lead mineralisation, with reported intercepts including 2 m @ 2.11% Zn, 3 m @ 1.56% Zn and 1 m @ 3.23% Zn. Significantly, the mineralisation in at least one of these intercepts (drill hole 00-468-5) is associated with the development of black matrix breccia, which is considered to be a prime indicator of the near-ore environment in Irish-style zinc-lead deposits.

“We are delighted to have consolidated control of a substantial zinc-lead exploration opportunity through the award of these additional PLs,” commented Mincor’s Managing Director, David Moore. “This completes the accumulation of a compelling package of ground in one of the world’s great zinc-lead provinces. The new PLs contain two of the most important ore indicators – black matrix breccias and actual lead-zinc mineralisation. We have committed to an aggressive exploration program in the area, and hope to be drilling again very shortly.”