Conroy Gold and Natural Resources (LON: CGNR | FRA: FKV1) on Tuesday revealed high-value zinc results from its sampling programme in Ireland’s Longford–Down Massif just as demand for the metal is set to grow.

The infill zinc-in-soil sampling programme took place on the northern, Aughnagurgan section of an impressive 20 square kilometre (km2) zinc zone.

Of the 65 samples taken, 23 returned values of more than 500 parts per million (“ppm”) zinc over an area of around 0.8 km by approximately 0.9 km at Aughnagurgan.

Not only that, but an impressive 10 such samples were reported at over 1,000 ppm zinc, with an overall range from 74 ppm to an excellent 3,700ppm.

Results from the sampling also indicated that various associated elements were also present, including lead, nickel, cadmium, and manganese. 

This impressive zinc zone within the Longford–Down Massif lies south of the previously discovered new district-scale gold trend at Clontibret, where Conroy Gold is planning to develop its first gold mine.

Historical success

The Longford-Down Massif has a strong history of mining, including former Antimony mines at Clontribet, where gold was first discovered plus various shallow lead and zinc mines worked in the nineteenth century. This was known at the time as the Armagh – Monaghan mining district.

The former Tullynawood and Aughnagurgan mines were worked for lead in the area and were located within around 1km of the Aughnagurgan zinc target.

Records report that the trend of lead veins works from both mines would likely “coalesce in the area of the Aughnagurgan zinc target”, which would support the case for base metal mineralisation.

Furthermore, Aughnagurgan’s underlying geology includes the calcareous turbidites and black shales associated worldwide with “clastic-dominated lead-zinc ore deposits”, particularly “sedimentary hosted lead-zinc deposits”.

What next?

Conroy Gold is planning to conduct follow-up drilling to test the Aughnagurgan zinc target.

Chair Richard Conroy stressed, however, that the company’s main focus at the is still the Longford-Down Massif’s “district scale gold trend” as well as bringing in a mine for the Clontribet deposit. This deposit already has a 517,000 ounce JORC compliant gold resource.

The chair also highlighted that Conroy Gold has signed a letter of intent with Demir Export for a proposed joint venture on an earn-in basis over 12 of the company’s licenses in the Longford-Down Massif.

Demir Export is a well-established Turkish mining company and has interests in various resources, including gold, as well as base metals like zinc and copper.

“Demir Export has the mining expertise and the financial resources not only to bring the Clontibret gold deposit to construction ready status and into operation as a mine, but also to advance the significant gold potential of the other licences along the gold trend to the same status and also the base metal potential of the Massif,” the chair said.

Promising times for zinc

The current worldwide surplus of zinc is expected to reduce in 2021 as increasing demand is set to outpace higher production. This is according to Russia’s UGMK, a copper and zinc producer.

UGMK is forecasting global zinc production in 2021 will increase by 2.9% to 14 million metric tons as plants in China increase their output in response to “solid domestic demand” but demand growth will rise 4.3% to 13.5 million metric tons.

According to UGMK, China will have to increase its zinc concentrate imports amid declining domestic extraction. Zinc production rise 0.9% in 2020 to 13.6 million metric tons thanks mostly to China.

UGMK is also expecting product prices to rise in 2025 to 2030 due to a possible zinc production deficit. This would come as existing mines fall from their 2024 peak while new projects have suffered weaker prices in their earlier stages.

Author: Anna Farley

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