Appraisal programmes at the five-licence block, which runs across Cavan and Meath, have already defined deep drill targets.
“Exploration is a long-run game. Once the euphoria of a discovery evaporates, the hard work of turning a resource into a measured reserve begins. This takes time and money. Irish independent mining companies like ourselves, Minco and Belmore have each made what — by world standards — are significant base metal discoveries. Turning these discoveries into commercial mining operations needs well-funded strong partnerships with major companies who can access world markets,” Connemara’s chairman, John Teeling said.
The company — which yesterday also reported a marginal widening in its 2010 pre-tax loss from €269,929 to €299,594 — also said that it remains fully committed to its Limerick- based Stonepark asset, which is due to drill 65 holes this year to expand its overall size.
“The current prices of over $2,000 (€1,380) a tonne makes zinc a valuable commodity and worth exploring for, particularly in Ireland which has the best discovery rates for zinc. The Limerick discoveries have the potential to be very big and rich, but they must be proven,” Mr Teeling added.
Elsewhere, yesterday Petroneft — the Irish oil and gas exploration company active in Russia — downgraded its own production target for the first quarter of next year, from 7,000-8,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to between 4,000 and 5,000 bopd.
However, the company’s chief executive Dennis Francis said management remains confident in the longer-term reserve and production potential of its two licences in the Tomsk region of Russia.