Mt Isa Su­per Basin holds key In pur­suit of richer zinc finds

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT busi­ness ed­i­tor tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

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.

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