Zinc exploration in Co Longford looks set to become a major attraction in the years ahead as Lundin Mining Exploration makes its advances into the lakelands area to determine the mineral potential. Already the Company is in the throws of exploration in the Cloonee/Mohill area, following its first drill-hole in there back in August 2011.
Lundin Mining Exploration holds 16 contiguous Prospecting Licences (Pls), 11 of which pertain to Co Leitrim, while the remaining five are specific to counties Cavan and Longford. The company is referring to the total area in which it holds licences as the ‘Lakelands Block’.
Speaking recently, local manager, Lundin Mining Exploration, Paul Gordan said that while the exploration in the region was in the early stages, little was known about the amounts of zinc here.
“This is an early stage exploration project within a large area, so it is impossible to tell if there is sufficient zinc and to consider extraction,” he added. “We don’t know how much zinc is in the area and at this stage it is impossible to understand the mineral potential of the area in the Lakelands Block.”
In 2011, Lundin Mining Exploration carried out a drill in Kenagh, Co Longford although information in relation to the subsequent findings were not made available at the time. “We’re using a drilling technique called wireline drilling, which is a standard drilling technique that has been in use in Ireland for over 40 years,” Mr Gordan explained. “It is the same drilling technique used in many other exploration projects around the country. A diamond tipped drill bit cuts out a cylinder (core) of rock from a drill hole which is placed in trays and brought to the LME core shed in Mohill. It is then brought to our permanent core storage in Co Clare. The drill-holes range in diameter from 8cm to 10cm and at this stage it is a rock extraction process only, in order to determine the rock types beneath the drill-rig and if any mineralization is present.”
The Company plans to drill for the next three or four months in and around Mohill in an effort to gain more understanding of the geology in this area. “The whole Lakelands Block is under-explored, so we are likely to be working in the county for a few more years,” Mr Gordan concluded.
The Department of Communications, Energy and natural Resources confirmed that the licences to drill for zinc were granted to Lundin Mining Exploration from 2008 with the latest licence approved last January. The Company currently holds 11 licences to drill in Co Leitrim with further drilling expected in Longford and Cavan in the coming months.
“The prospecting licence gives the holder the right to explore for certain specific minerals denoted in the licence,” a spokesperson for the Department explained. “It confers no authority to mine minerals and currently there are 600 prospecting licences held by 45 companies throughout Ireland.”