Sixty years ago Ireland had no mining industry and seemingly no prospects but a few maverick pioneers led by Pat Hughes, a returned emigrant, found zinc in Galway. This led to a boom in exploration and further discoveries. 162 Clontarf Road was built in the late 1960s to house the headquarters of Tynagh, Tara and Gortdrum – three large base metal discoveries, all part of the Pat Hughes group of companies. 162 Clontarf Road is the home of Connemara Mining Company Plc.
As a result Ireland is known as a world class zinc province – highly prospective for zinc discoveries. In 2007 Ireland produced 38% of Western Europe’s zinc and 25% of its lead. From the discovery of the Tynagh mine near Loughrea in the early 1960s to the present when all of the world’s leading zinc miners are actively exploring, Ireland has proven to be the most prospective country in the world in which to discover zinc. According to Minerals Ireland, the Exploration and Mining Division of the Irish Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Ireland is globally ranked first in terms of zinc discovered per km2, and second with respect to lead. High grades, shallow occurrences and clean metallurgy of orebodies, all result in a relatively low cost of mining for the Irish-type Zn-Pb deposits.
162 Clontarf Road in Dublin can rightly be considered as the cradle of Irish mining exploration. The principals have operated out of this office since the late 1960s. They have established over 15 listed exploration companies in zinc, gold, diamonds and oil. They currently operate 4.
Among the startups were
- Minquest – Acquired by Arcon
- Kenmare Resources – mining titanium sands in Mozambique
- Minco – who recently sold their royalty on the Curraghinalt project to Dalradian Resources
- Irish Marine Oil
- Ovoca Gold
- African Diamonds – acquired by Lucara
- African Gold/Mwana
- Persian Gold/Clontarf
- Pan Andean – Acquired by Petrominerales
- Petrel Resources
- West African Diamonds – Acquired by Stellar
- Botswana Diamonds
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