Buchans Resources’ Moate Property, located in County Westmeath, Ireland is centred on a specific geological target, identified by Buchans, with potential for zinc-lead mineralisation of Tynagh Mine type. In November 2015, Minco Ireland Limited, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Buchans, was granted three new Prospecting Licences by the Irish Minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The new licences, PLs 1228, 1229 and 3981, at Moate in County Westmeath, are centered on a specific geological target identified by Minco, with potential for zinc-lead mineralization of Tynagh Mine type.
The Moate licences are located along the northwestern margin of the Irish Midland Orefield on the “Tynagh-Ballinalack Trend”. All but one of the major Irish zinc-lead deposits of the Irish Midland Orefield lie along the margins of the Orefield. The Moate target lies mid-way between the former Tynagh Mine, located 50 kilometres to the southwest, and the similar styled Ballinalack deposit, situated 35 kilometres to the northeast. The Tynagh Mine operated successfully from 1965 to 1981 producing 9,000,000 tonnes of ore, from both open pit and underground, at average grades of approximately 7% lead, 5.5% zinc, 0.5% copper and 2.6 ounces of silver per tonne.
Minco’s studies of previous drilling have outlined a geological setting that Minco believes mirrors that at the former Tynagh Mine, where zinc-lead mineralization was hosted by breccias developed at the margin between the reef and off-reef limestone facies. The geology at Moate is also comparable to that at the smaller Ballinalack deposit.
The Tynagh Mine and the Ballinalack deposit lie along the major, northeast striking basement trend, the “Tynagh-Ballinalack Trend”, comparable to the Lisheen Trend, which underlies the Lisheen and Galmoy Mines in Tipperary and Kilkenny, and comparable to the Pallas Green Trend which hosts the Pallas Green deposits discovered by Minco in 2007.
The Moate area has seen intermittent exploration over the past fifty years following discovery in 1968 of the Moyvoughly deposit (125,000 tonnes averaging 8% zinc plus lead) located immediately to the east of Minco’s new licenses. Exploration at Moate in the past, which includes nine kilometres of diamond drilling, has focused almost exclusively on the potential for Navan-type mineralization within the Moyvoughly Beds, initially at shallow depths in the footwall of the major (300 metre throw) Moyvoughly Fault and later to depths of 600 metres below surface in the hanging wall. The potential for reef hosted zinc-lead mineralization of “Tynagh-type” at Moate has never been explored.
Buchans’ 2016-2017 drill programme at Moate consisted of 13 holes completed between September 2016 and January 2017 for a total of 1299m. Drilling was concentrated in two areas centered on the townlands of Knockanea-Fardrum (Pl 1229) and Tully (Pl 1228). 942m were drilled on Pl 1229 and 357m on Pl 1228. Buchans’ drilling programme initially focused within PL 1229 on the southwestern three kilometers of the target area, adjacent the ENE striking Moyvoughly Fault where five holes (1229-35 to 1229-39) were drilled for a total of 700 metres. Reef-derived breccias comparable to those at Tynagh were intersected confirming the geological model, and in Holes 1229-38, 39 and 40 the breccias contain widespread trace amounts of disseminated sphalerite.
Drilling in the Tully area has defined a major west northwest striking cross fault off-setting the Moyvoughly Fault and the proposed Tynagh-Ballinalack basement structure. There is evidence that the cross fault is also a regional structure, localised by basement structure. The strike of the cross fault swings from west northwest to east-west over a strike length of 1.5 kilometres where it offsets the Tynagh-Ballinalck trend. The structural pattern is comparable to the setting of Silvermines where the zinc-lead-barite deposits are localised north of an east-west striking flexure of a regional east northeast fault. Hole 17-1228-45 sited north of the cross fault intersected reef derived breccias comparable to those in Holes 16-1229-38, 16-1229-39 and 16 1229-40 in the Knockanea area.
The 2016-2017 drill programme at Moate has confirmed the geological model and enhanced exploration potential. The geological structure has proven more complicated than expected as the Moyvoughly Fault was not intersected in the drilling programme. The Fault is believed to have been straddled by the drilling and to have a reversed throw of approximately 150m. To the NE, on PL 1228, previous drilling indicates the Fault is present with a down-throw of approximately 180m to the north, while on PL 3581, further north, the fault was intersected by previous drilling with a throw of 300m.
The primary target horizon remains reef derived breccia systems developed along the reef margin. Although not demonstrated by current drilling, there remains potential in the target area for the development of Ballinalack-type reef knolls associated with the reef margin, possibly associated with the cross fault.