Moate Project

Prospecting Licences 1228 and 1229

County Meath, Ireland


The Moate Block lies along one of the major mineralising regional trends in the Irish Midlands Orefield, the Tynagh-Ballinalack Trend. Significant mineralisation was intersected historically at Moyvoughly on the adjoining licence. The previous work in this area has focused upon the Navan Beds equivalent target and as such tested the prospectivity of the sub-outcropping stratigraphy in the core of the inlier. Minco has taken the historic geological data and constructed a new geological / structural model that indicates the potential for a Tynagh style, Waulsortian Reef hosted deposit, developed along and proximal to the main controlling faults. Minco’s use of sound geological reasoning to develop the target concept is an appropriate exploration approach in this type of environment.

Ownership & Location

Minco, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Minco Ireland Limited, is the sole holder of Prospecting Licences (“PL”) 1228 and 1229. Under terms of this licence, Minco must expend a total of €250,000, in staged programmes, by 1 March 2024.

The Moate Block is located in west-central Ireland, approximately 140 kilometres west of Dublin.  The licence block consists of two contiguous prospecting licences that cover a surface area of 65.67km2 and are located to the east of the town of Athlone. 


The stratigraphy is comparable to that in the Navan area with intertidal to shallow marine sediments overlain by a succession of marine, argillaceous bioclastic limestone.  This in turn  is overlain by the Waulsortian micritic reef complex.  A northeast-southwest trending incursion of reef equivalent, or Grey Calp, widening to the northeast and closing to the southwest, penetrates the massive micritic reef on Licences 1228 and 1229.  Palaeogeographical reconstruction indicates this incursion was continuous northeastwards following the Tynagh-Ballinalack Trend.

A distinctive reef-derived breccia sequence, 50m or so in thickness, occurs at the base of the Grey Calp succession.  This includes sub-angular to sub-rounded clasts of massive reef micrite, many with typical stromatactic fabric, ranging in size from a few centimetres to over one meter in diameter.  The breccias are matrix supported with clast supported sections.  Minor disseminated sphalerite is typically present within these.  Along the southern margin of the reef equivalent incursion the breccias are overlain by 30m of finely bedded, reef derived turbidites.


The Geology of the Moate Block

Moate Block Stratigraphy

The Moate Block lies along the northern flank of the Moate Inlier which is centred on a perianticlinal fold, which is cut by the east northeast trending Moyvoughly Fault – Section 1. Drilling by Minco in 2016-2017 identified a major, west northwest striking cross fault offsetting both the Moate Inlier fold and Moyvoughly Fault –Section 6.  The continuation of the Moyvoughly Fault to the south of this structure is uncertain, if it does it could be located to the northwest of DDH 39 as shown on Section 2B.


Moate Geology – Section 1


Moate Geology – Section 2B


Moate Geology – Section 6


The only significant mineral occurrence proximal to the Moate Block is the Moyvoughly Deposit, which lies c. c.3km to the northeast of the Moate Block and was discovered in 1968 by Gortdrum Mines Ltd. The deposit was discovered by shallow soil sampling with diamond drilling follow up.  The zinc and lead mineralisation at Moyvoughly is hosted within shallow water, marine carbonates that are the lithostratigraphic equivalent to the Navan beds. Both cross cutting and stratiform mineral textures are present and demonstrate a close spatial relationship with faulting and fracture zones. The main sulphides species are sphalerite, galena and pyite. Sphalerite occurs as rim cements, fine grained disseminated clusters and most prevalently replacement of carbonate allochems and cements. Galena occurs coarse crystalline disseminated grains and is less abundant than sphalerite with a Zn:Pb ratio of 6:1. Barite is abundant occurring as disseminations in the matrix of mudstones and as massive to semi-massive replacements and veins. Very rare chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite and tennantite have been recorded.

Location of the Moyvoughly Deposit, relative to the Moate Block


Zinc-lead exploration in the Moate area began in the late 1960’s during a country wide exploration boom following the discoveries of Tynagh and Silvermines. Historic work was carried out by Gortdrum Mines Ltd., Enfer Holdings Ltd., Irish Base Metals Limited, Westland Exploration Limited, Exploration and Discovery Limited and Merrex Gold Limited.

Minco Ireland and Westland Exploration together held interests in the Moate Block licences, together with additional adjacent licences, from 1989 to 2003. During this period, joint venture agreements were concluded sequentially by Minco Ireland and Westland Exploration with: CEC Ireland (MIM) and Navan Resources (1996); Biliton B.V. (1998); Rio Algom (2000); and Anglo American (2001), all of which carried out various programs. The previous licences were surrendered in 2007. Three licences were reacquired by Minco Ireland in 2015 and PL 3981 was surrendered by Minco Ireland in 2018.

Historical exploration on the Moate Block follows a typical pattern to the that observed elsewhere in the Irish Midlands Orefield, with a primary focus on geochemistry, supported by mapping and prospecting and followed up with geophysics and ultimately diamond drilling. The majority of the licence area (c.80%) is covered by shallow soil geochemistry, with grid dimensions ranging from reconnaisance to detailed scales. Soil sampling is supported with Deep Overburden Sampling (DOB) in selected areas, normally to confirm and check soil anomalies. Ground geophysical surveying has included Induced Polarisation, TEM resistivity soundings, VLF/EM resistivity and gravity. From the late 1990’s a series of airborne surveys were carried out across the Irish Midlands Orefield by a range of private companies. In the Moate area EM / Magnetic surveys were flown by Billiton and Rio Algom. There was also partial coverage airborne geophysical coverage from surveys flown by Noranda, BHP , Navan Resources and Boliden Tara Mines.

Between 1968 and 2015, 71 diamond drill holes, for a total of 7790m, were completed by various companies prior to reacquisition of the ground by Minco Ireland in 2015.  Many of these holes were short stratigraphic holes drilled to establish bedrock geology. The targeting of drilling has historically been focused on the potential for Navan-style mineralisation, both sub-outcropping and to depths of up to 600 metres below surface. The only success to date in the general area has been discovery, by Gortdrum Mines Ltd., of the sub-outcropping, Moyvoughly deposit (125,000t averaging 8% Zn+Pb; Poustie & Kucha 1982)

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.





  •   Blaney, D. “Technical Report on the Irish Zinc Exploration Project of Minco Exploration Limited a subsidiary of Buchans Resources Limited” dated 29 October 2019