LAST month an aeroplane flew low over County Limerick to carry out an airborne survey as part of zinc exploration and this month giant vibrator trucks helped produce more data.
The two surveys carried out by different companies – Teck Ireland and the joint venture between Minco and Xstrata – are yet another indication of the mining potential in East Limerick.
The seismic survey on the outskirts of Caherconlish cost several hundred thousands of euros says Normand Dupras, exploration manager for Ireland on behalf of Xstrata and Minco.
“There were 25 people employed in the two week survey. We have locals looking after traffic, permitting, helping on the job but the more technical aspect is done by company people who travel around the world. It’s very specialised technical work. It generates a lot of for the local economy.
“For example, a local contractor does our security so we have a lot of indirect people working on this project. Plus all the field people working on a regular basis on the programme, who are involved in the survey,” said Mr Dupras, who added that they have been working in East Limerick since 1996.
The survey has now been completed and they await the results from the survey.
“In exploration we have many types of study - we have diamond drilling, we have mapping with the geologists on the surface, we have geophysical surveys either airborne or ground and as part of these we have seismic surveys. It is another part of the big toolbox we have for exploration,
“What we are looking for in the geology package is where we have zinc or potentially have zinc. It is a kilometre below the surface so we need some indirect tools to find it - where it is and how much we have,” said Mr Dupras.
If you have been driving around Caherconlish in the last couple of weeks you may have seen a convoy of unusual trucks on the road.
“We surveyed along the roads on the outskirts of Caherconlish. The entire survey was 23 kms. We have three roads north, south and one east-west which totals 23kms,” he said.