Mining company Minco will begin a joint venture drilling programme with Noranda in 2004 on what it termed 'world-class zinc properties' in Co Limerick.
The company led by Dublin businessman John Teeling also predicted that it was well positioned to take advantage of rising gold and silver prices after a 20 year decline in prices.
Earlier this year the company bought Irish gold and zinc interests off Ennex International, giving it a 2% royalty in the Curraghinalt gold property in Northern Ireland.
It also allowed Minco to increase its interest in four zinc licences in the Irish midlands to 100%.
With the prospect of increased activity in the Irish and international markets the company has announced the appointment of three executive directors,
Deputy Chairman Roger Turner, Chief Operating Officer Matthew Dorman, who is Minco Chief Operating Officer and Finance Director Richard Thornton.
Speaking today, Chairman John Teeling said : "The new Minco is poised for action. We have the people, the projects and the money.
"The world economy is improving, demand for metals is rising, commodity and precious metals' prices are rising. After a long period in the shade, our time in the sun may have arrived."
He was speaking at the presentation of the company's annual reports and accounts.