The latest drill results from Group Eleven Resources Corp (CVE:ZNG) make for intriguing reading.
Two of the five most recently drilled holes at the Stonepark project in Ireland delivered really significant intercepts, and tend towards vindicating the company’s so-called “Big Think” strategy.
This “Big Think” involved a considerable amount of high-level geological thinking and included the collation of a wide variety of data from an equally wide variety of sources going back several decades.
It all added up to a much clearer understanding of the geological structures and potential at Stonepark, and was instrumental in enabling the company to decide where to drill next.
In that context, it perhaps wasn’t too surprising that the latest drill holes turned up some extremely interesting results, albeit that they were really only supposed to enhance the Group Eleven’s understanding of the geology.
“We had a five hole programme,” says chief executive Bart Jaworski. “It was a big step out, part of our ‘Big Think’ strategy. Our aim was geology first, but in two holes we got significant mineralisation.”
The first, at Ballywire, is perhaps the most straightforward. Here, Group Eleven drilled through 36 metres of intermittent high grade zinc, with highlights including 0.75 metres at 13.1% zinc and 39 grams per tonne silver, and 0.2 metres at 35.1% zinc and 93 grams per tonne silver.
“This step-out,” says Jaworski, “hit the best results in the history of the prospect, and it looks like we may be on the cusp of a discovery there.”
Not only that, but the wider implications are that what’s known as the Pallas Green corridor, which runs to the north, and hosts a major development by Glencore, now extends a full 20 kilometres – a doubling from before.
But if that wasn’t enough to be arm-waving about, the second of the two highlighted holes may prove to be even more significant in the long run.
Here, at Kilteely, Group Eleven drilled under the southern half of the same Limerick volcanics that Pallas Green sits on.
“The southern half is virtually unexplored,” explains Jaworski.
“There has been only one historic hole, and we just drilled the second one. Our aim in drilling here is to find the hot spot, the feeder structure for the whole Pallas Green complex.”
And on the strength of the latest Kilteely hole, the company might just have started zeroing in on it.
“We got 230 metres of a strong hydrothermal system. It’s a huge result for us. It looks like we’ve hit the outer edge of a large Irish-style zinc deposit. What we hit looks like the outer halo.”
The existence of that one historic hole adds to the interest. Back when the older hole was drilled Pallas Green hadn’t been discovered, and the significance of the results weren’t clear.
“No one knew Pallas Green had a pyrite halo in those days,” says Jaworski. “There was no Pallas Green.”
But in the context of the latest hole, and of the ground Glencore is working to the north, the historic hole now makes a lot of sense – it intersected over 100 metres of similar material about 1.6 kilometres away, allowing Group Eleven to begin to build up a hypothetical picture of the geology.
“We think we may have the mirror image of what’s happening to the north,” says Jaworski.
At the very least, he says, the results strongly suggest the hotspot concept may be valid, and that there is indeed hydrothermal activity under the volcanics.
The next step is to collate the latest drill data with new airborne data that is being generated by the Irish government’s Tellus project, which is expected in the autumn.
“When we get that information, we will superimpose it onto our own geological models,” says Jaworski. All told, it should be a highly illuminating exercise.
In the meantime, Group Eleven is getting ready to drill on another project, Ballinalack, where the geology looks similar to the famous Navan deposit. Ballinalack already boasts a resource of five million tonnes at 8.7% zinc and lead lying fairly shallow.
At Ballinalack, Group Eleven has been actively co-funding the project with a Chinese joint venture partner, and Jaworski is confident that Stonepark could attract a major partner as well. Stonepark is already held in joint venture with Arkle Resources PLC (LON:ARK), and any deal done with another, larger company would be agreed jointly with Arkle directors Patrick Cullen and John Teeling.
But bringing a major in to lighten the funding burden would make a lot of sense, and Ireland is already well-known as an attractive place to operate. It will be interesting to see what happens next.