Derryginagh Barite Project, Ireland

Status Available for Sale (cash or equity) or Joint Venture.


Project Overview

The Company holds a Prospecting Licence for base metals, barite, silver, gold and platinum group elements near Bantry, County Cork, in the south-west of the Irish Republic.

The Company is targeting the Derryginagh barite deposit for the production of high value white "paint-grade" barite for use as mineral filler in paints and plastics. The Company's original concept was for a modest scale project that could be developed with a low capital cost.

Since acquiring the project in late 2009 the Company has carried out a number of significant work programmes including drilling, metallurgical and marketing studies.

The results of this work were incorporated into a technical and economic Scoping Study completed by Wardell Armstrong International ("WAI") in late 2012. The study highlighted the need to define additional reserves and improve on the metallurgical performance of the testwork carried out so far.

Barite Market

Barite is used as a weighting agent in oil industry drilling muds and as a higher value industrial filler for use in the paints and other products.

White paint-grade barite is the highest-value use for barite having significant sales volumes. Off-white barite is used as a lower value mineral filler and high volumes of low grade barite are used as a weighting agent in drilling mud in the oil and gas industry.

There is a significant demand for white paint-grade barite in Europe but no major mine supply outside of China and India. Consequently there is a niche opportunity for a new European supplier as China's own internal demand limits traditional exports.

The price currently quoted for white paint-grade barite is £195-220/tonne delivered to the UK.

Scoping Study Highlights

Mineral Resource Estimation

Wardell Armstrong International Ltd ("WAI") carried out geological modelling of the historic and recent Company drill data and, for the purpose of the Study, derived a base-case tonnage-grade estimate of 394,000 tonnes grading 81% barite by block modelling using vein outline wireframes provided by the Company and grade estimation by the Inverse Distance Weighting estimation method.

This tonnage-grade estimate was not classified by WAI according to JORC standards as QA/QC data was not available for historical drill holes and there is some uncertainty over the exact locations of these holes.


The Study considered mine production rates of between 50,000 (base case) and 90,000 tonnes per annum corresponding to product output rates of 27,600 - 48,000 tonnes per annum of white barite concentrate.

After allowances for sterilisation around old mine workings, mine pillars and mine dilution the base-case tonnage grade estimate supports total mine production of 278,340 tonnes at 67% barite.

The mining methods suggested for the Derryginagh mineralisation are a combination of Alimak stoping and longitudinal retreat stoping, with ore being hauled to surface via a decline located to the north of the deposit. The base-case mine life is six years.

Mining capital and operating costs were estimated for both owner operated and contract mining scenarios.

Mineral Processing

The Study considered processing of the ore by means of gravity methods. The process selection includes crushing, ball milling, desliming and size classification and gravity beneficiation using a combination of spirals, shaking tables and multi gravity separators. The final concentrate grade was estimated at 98.5% barite with both coarse (50-500 microns, 80% of total) and a fine (less than 50 microns, 20% of total) concentrates produced.


In all scenarios considered by the Scoping Study the Project shows good operating costs margins but the Project has moved away from the original low capital cost concept as metallurgical testwork results dictated a more complex plant design than originally envisaged. In addition tonnage estimates are necessarily constrained by the drilling carried out so far.

There are however opportunities to enhance the project as follows:

  • WAI considers that the available geological information at this stage does not fully reflect the perceived potential of the Derryginagh project as the deposit is open down dip and further drilling may increase the Mineral Resource base sufficiently to support an extended life of the mine and enhanced project economics.
  • The current mineral processing flow-sheet is more complex than originally envisaged as metallurgical testwork has not performed according to mineralogical predictions. There is an opportunity to improve and simplify the process plant design with potential benefits to capital and operating costs.
  • The revenue assumptions may be conservative. An opportunity exists to achieve substantially higher sales price by fine grinding the barite product. The additional capital and operating costs involved need to be fully evaluated.