A €1bn Canadian silver mining company has taken a stake in fledgling Dublin-based zinc explorer Group Eleven Resources.
The investment by Vancouver-headquartered MAG Silver in the Irish firm is part of a wider fundraising that has seen Group Eleven recently raise almost €1.1m from backers to develop zinc projects in Ireland after the price of the base metal soared 80pc last year.
Stockmarket-listed MAG Silver, which has Jonathan Rubenstein as its chairman, develops silver mines in Mexico. It has a market capitalisation of just under C$1.4bn (€1bn) and has stumped up over €500,000 for its stake in Group Eleven.
A MAG Silver director is also believed to have also invested personally in the Irish company.
Most of the investors who pumped money into Group Eleven in its latest funding are based in Canada. But other investors from countries including Ireland, the UK, Russia and the United States have also taken stakes.
The company, founded in 2015, has previously raised over €300,000 from its founders and other investors, including former Davy corporate finance chief Hugh McCutcheon.
Group Eleven Resources owns licences that cover acreage in Limerick, south of the Pallas Green zinc resource that's owned by global mining giant Glencore. Pallas Green is undeveloped, but it would be the country's second-largest zinc mine if it ever becomes operational. It was previously owned by Xstrata, which reckoned it would cost over €200m to develop.
Group Eleven Resources was established by John Barry, David Furlong and Bart Jaworski.
Mr Barry is chairman of the company. He has worked on gold mining projects in Africa.
Mr Jaworski is ceo. He was previously a mining equity analyst at Davy Stockbrokers and prior to that worked with the Canadian arm of US brokerage Raymond James. Mr Furlong is general manager at the firm. He has previous worked on resources projects in Poland.
Ireland has just one operational zinc mine, Tara Mines in Co Meath, which is owned by Swedish firm Boliden.
It is Europe's biggest zinc mine and the ninth-largest in the world.