Spain-focused Variscan Mines (ASX: VAR) has defined a 9km-long mineralised trend at its zinc-lead Novales-Udias project and will now do step-out drilling to explore the area.
The company’s project is on trend with the historic San Jose-Novales mine and about 10km from the world-class historic Reocin mine, which during its life produced 62 million tonnes at 8.7% zinc and 1% lead.
The newly identified trend has been delineated from contemporary and historical exploration data across both the company’s Buenahora exploration and Novales mining permits in northern Spain.
Historical surface drilling records indicate the centre of the mineralisation is to the south and southwest of the San Jose-Novales mine, an area which is now a key target for the forthcoming drilling campaign.
Large areas still untested
Variscan managing director and chief executive officer Stewart Dickson said defining the 9km mineralised trend over the company’s licence areas in this high-grade region is a major step forward.
“We anticipate near-mine extensions and continuation will be a key area of step-out drilling,” he added.
“Large areas near-mine and along trend are still open and untested, providing significant exploration potential and value upside.”
One old surface drill hole indicates zinc mineralisation 300m from the nearest underground drilling. A further 94 historic drill holes from the underground mine have been collated for 3D projection.
The Novales-Udias project is located in the Basque-Cantabrian Basin, 30km from the regional capital, Santander, west of Bilbao city.
Variscan describes the project, which covers 68.3sq km, as a near-term zinc production opportunity. Historic production on the ground is reported at an average 7% zinc.
The area directly southwest of the old mine is devoid of exploration work apart from sporadic historical drill holes and the evidence of underground workings in the southern part of the Buenahora permit.
Now an European Battery Alliance member
In August, Variscan Mines was accepted as a member of the European Battery Alliance, a body that brings together interested parties and industry participants across the European Union’s battery value chain.
Its aim is to create a competitive and sustainable battery industry in Europe by 2025.
Membership opens up access to European supra-national and institutional financing.
Rechargeable zinc batteries are competing with lithium-ion ones for use in hybrid cars, electric cars, e-bikes and energy storage.
Variscan Mines was listed in 2014 to focus on European exploration, the priority at first being France, which once had a flourishing mining sector with lead-silver-zinc, gold and uranium mines. These were all closed by 2002.