Mineral explorer Unicorn awarded 16 new licences
Irish minerals explorer Unicorn Mineral Resources has been awarded the licences for 15 exploration blocks in Co Waterford.
The company has committed to spend €1m on the blocks over the next six years and is hoping to encounter copper, gold and silver.
The blocks are located near an old copper mine that operated in the 19th century.
Unicorn has recently completed a preliminary drilling programme on a block in Kinnitty, Co Offaly, and is carrying out further tests. "We identified that there were signals coming back that there might be an ore body down there, just before Christmas we got to the stage where we had targeted where we would drill," Unicorn chief executive Richard O'Shea told the Irish Independent.
"We hit two eight-metre intersections of lead and zinc," Mr O'Shea said.
The find extends an ore body that had previously been identified. Unicorn plans to drill more holes at Kinnitty in April or May.
If the discovery proves to be commercially viable the company will seek to sell a stake in the licence to a company who can extract the minerals - a so-called "farm out".
Unicorn has 29 licences in total, including blocks in Clonmel, Co Tipperary and Gort, Co Galway.
The Gort licences are in so-called "virgin" territory -meaning they have never been drilled before. Drilling there encountered iron pyrite which is seen as a good indicator for the presence of lead and zinc.
The company will drill more holes there shortly.
Unicorn's agm will be held in Dublin on Monday.