Mt Isa Super Basin holds key In pursuit of richer zinc finds
THE country north of Mount Isa has the potential to deliver the world’s next big zinc mine with huge benefits for Townsville in jobs and manufacturing, according to a Western Australia explorer.
Pursuit Minerals Ltd, currently listed on the Australian sharemarket under the name Burrabulla Corporation, has successfully raised $ 6 million to begin a twoyear search in the Mount Isa Super Basin.
The area hosts the largest concentration of zinc deposits on the planet and is in the same area of the now depleted Century zinc mine mothballed last year.
Pursuit Minerals has secured the rights to acquire the Bluebush and Paperbark projects, which the company’s managing director Jeremy Read said had the potential to deliver the next Century mine.
“The Bluebush site is enormous – drilling has shown there’s confirmed zinc mineralisation over an area greater than 100sq km,” Mr Read said. “We are very confident that Bluebush has the potential to deliver a zinc discovery capable of rivalling or even outstripping the Century Mine in terms of output.”
At its peak, the Century Mine employed more than 1000 people.
Zinc prices have surged on world markets in recent months on the back of increasing demand and falling supply.
Other resource companies are racing to ride the next zinc boom with China’s MMG currently developing the Dugald River mine near Cloncurry. If more mines can be developed, not only will it deliver more jobs but possibly the feedstock for an expansion at Townsville’s Sun Metals zinc refinery.
Mr Read believed they had an extraordinary opportunity over the next 12 to 24 months.
“The Mount Isa Super Basin – a part of the North West Mineral Province – is home of the biggest concentration of supergiant zinc deposits on the planet,” Mr Read said. “We’re also looking at a market where tightening supply and declining production are seeing global zinc prices hit 10- year highs.”
Pursuit Minerals has an agreement to acquire Bluebush, the nearby Paperbark zinc- copper project and an iron oxide copper gold project near Coober Pedy in South Australia, from Canadian mining giant Teck Resources. As a part of the acquisition, the Australian arm of Teck will hold a 19.9 per cent stake in Pursuit.
Mr Read said more than 3000m of drilling on the Bluebush and Paperbark tenements would begin in August and continue for two years. “We are very positive about the future. It’s probably the best place on the planet to explore for zinc. It just needs some exploration and development work,” he said.