Zinc of Ireland eyes expansion amid germanium discovery

Zinc of Ireland (ASX:ZMI) is on the cusp of opening itself up to a new market, strategic partnerships, and funding after uncovering the presence of ‘elevated’ germanium.

The company discovered up to 433 grams per tonne in drillcore at the 11.3 million tonne Kildare Zinc-Lead Project in Ireland. 

Germanium is listed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as a critical mineral because of required access to imported supply through significant increase in demand for its use in fibre and infra-red optics, high brightness LEDs, mobile phone lights, semiconductors, and solar panels. 

China — which banned exports of germanium in August 2023 – controls 68% of global refined germanium production in various countries, mainly in southeast Asia.

Results, generated from pXRF analysis of 906 sample sites at the Kildare Zinc / Lead deposits, support a previous Energy Critical Element Study undertaken by BRG and commissioned by Geological Survey of Ireland. 

Prior to the limited recent testwork by Zinc of Ireland, none of the 50,000m of drillcore from Kildare has been assayed for germanium. 

While the company’s understanding of the overall germanium content within Kildare remains at an early stage, pXRF data indicates the existing zinc-lead resource may have the potential to host ‘significant’ levels of germanium and enhance the prospectivity of the entire Rathdowney Trend. 

Zinc of Ireland Non-Executive Chairman Peter Huljich says: “To date, there has been only sparsely reported germanium assaying along the Rathdowney Trend and, as such, this new understanding of the potential relationship between zinc and germanium at Kildare, gives us a high degree of confidence in our future work which will include selected resampling and conventional sample analyses of existing drill core. 

We are excited to use our existing data and drill core to expedite quantifying the germanium extent at potentially one of Europe’s largest undeveloped deposits.

Zinc of Ireland is looking forward to 2024, with drilling due to commence at our 100% owned Cascade REE (rare earth element) Project near Esperance, imminently and other investment opportunities in the critical metals sector are being actively pursued.”

Zinc of Ireland is a Perth-based zinc explorer focused on its ‘high-grade’ Irish-type zinc projects in Ireland and Western Australia.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Zinc of Ireland