Peter Tyler, Minco's chief geologist, said it had identified a very specific geological target at Moate and had been “waiting patiently for these licences to come open for some years."
The new licences, PLs 1228, 1229 and 3981, in County Westmeath are in an area prolific for zinc-lead mineralisation.
Each licence will be valid for a period of six years.
Ireland has a history of zinc and lead mines and the new Moate licences are located on the "Tynagh-Ballinalack Trend” where all but one of Ireland’s major zinc-lead deposits have been situated.
The former mine at Tynagh is 50 km away from the new licences.
It was in production between 1965 and 1981 and generated 9,000,000 tonnes of ore with average grades of approximately 7% lead and 5.5% zinc.
Minco believes the geology at Moate mirrors that at the former mine and is also comparable to the smaller Ballinalack deposit, some 35km away.
The "Tynagh-Ballinalack Trend", is comparable to the Lisheen Trend, which underlies the Lisheen and Galmoy Mines in Tipperary and Kilkenny, and also to the Pallas Green deposits discovered by Minco in 2007.
"We believe Moate is the only remaining untested target of its kind in Ireland.
“The target has been outlined by past drilling, but remains unexplored as previous exploration focused on the Moyvoughly (Navan) Beds, host to the Boliden Tara Mines deposit at Navan, and not on reef hosted mineralization of the Tynagh Type", added Tyler.
Minco has planned an initial exploration programme consisting of six inclined drill holes for a total of 1400 metres of drilling.
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