Zinc of Ireland (ASX: ZMI) has struck “exceptional” thick and shallow zinc mineralisation grading up to 25% zinc and lead at its Celtic Tiger and McGregor prospects, part of the company’s flagship Kildare zinc project in Ireland’s south.
Situated 40km south west of Dublin, the 100%-owned Kildare project encompasses 250 square kilometres of land holding in a region that was previously mined until 2015.
Better results from drilling at Celtic Tiger and McGregor prospects within the project were 23.95m grading 8% zinc and lead, including 1.05m grading 25% zinc and lead, 3.11m grading 19.6% zinc and lead and 11.5m grading 6.1% zinc and lead.
According to the company, these results confirm multiple prospective zones including extending the base of reef mineralisation at McGregor. The newly identified Celtic Tiger prospect contains similar mineralisation to McGregor and, as a result, Zinc of Ireland managing director Peter van der Borgh said the company would be targeting substantial further exploration at the new target.
“These results are a clear game-changer for Zinc of Ireland and the future of the Kildare zinc project,” Mr van der Borgh said.
“The discovery of thick, high-grade zinc mineralisation within a couple of hundred metres of the surface at both McGregor and Celtic Tiger will have a number of positive impacts for the project,” Mr van der Borgh added.
He said the shallower targets would lead to less expensive and faster drilling.
“The presence of shallower, more accessible mineralisation will obviously translate into improved economics when we undertake future financial modelling of the project.”
Zinc of Ireland has planned further drilling at Celtic Tiger in the lead up to Christmas.
A phase four drilling campaign across the project area is scheduled for the first quarter of 2018 and the company anticipates an updated resource estimate as a result.
The current inferred resource for the Kildare project is 5.2 million tonnes grading 7.2% zinc and 1.4% lead for 374,400 tonnes of contained zinc and 72,800 tonnes of lead.
Zinc of Ireland owns 1,000 square kilometres of tenements throughout Ireland from the north to the south and across both east and west coasts.
Zinc market fundamentals
In mid-October Small Caps reported that the zinc market had slipped into a supply deficit with the metal recently hitting 10-year highs.
During 2016, zinc was the best performing commodity on the London Metals Exchange with stockpiles sitting at 12-year lows.
Due to the declining stockpiles, the supply deficit is expected to widen in the next few years.
One of the world’s largest zinc miners Teck Resources revealed more than 4.3 million tonnes per annum of additional zinc output was required to meet consumption by 2025.
According to several analysts the current global zinc pipeline is insufficient to meet this need.
As the fourth most used metal, zinc is incorporated in alloys for its anti-corrosive properties.
Also, the burgeoning renewable energy sector requires zinc in the zinc bromine battery which is frequently used in large-scale green power storage. When incorporated in batteries, zinc can store six times more power than traditional batteries and increase the range of electric vehicles.
In addition to the above uses, zinc is part of the human body and is essential for human health and development. It is used in everyday applications including sunscreen, cosmetics, fertiliser and medicine.