With growing global demand for metals, Anglesey Mining seems increasingly optimistic about zinc mining prospects at Parys Mountain on the isle of Anglesey. The company has carried out extensive feasibility tests and exploratory drilling on copper and zinc deposits at various zones at this historic Anglesey site.
Estimates carried out by Micon ichiteck International Consultants suggest that the indicated and inferred results for resource levels and grades for zinc are very encouraging. With mining operations such as this, inevitably the development and ongoing costs of production have to be factored in very carefully, having regard to metal prices over the medium to long term. According to Anglesey Mining a significant proportion of the identified zinc resource is close to the surface, which would mean a relatively low cost extraction process.
So how likely is it that zinc mining will come on-stream at this Anglesey mine? With zinc being in the top four metals for world production along with copper, iron and aluminium, its importance cannot be underestimated.
Consider the global economic climate going forward. China and India show a huge appetite for copper and zinc as they continue to develop their economic infrastructure and replace old plant. Indeed in April China declared itself a net importer of zinc, though this could also reflect higher prices in that country which reduce incentives to export to other markets. Furthermore, as iron and steel demand expands in these emerging markets, so will that for zinc whose number one use is in coating these metals to prevent corrosion. Add to that its use as rolled zinc and as an alloying metal, then we see how zinc demand and economic growth go hand in hand. These factors are all favourable to giving a green light to Anglesey Mining and improve the climate in its efforts to secure sufficient capital to start production.
It is interesting to reflect that while zinc mining is now seen as a strong possibility on Anglesey, it is with copper that this area has been linked historically. The mining works at Parys Mountain have a rich 4,000 year history with evidence suggesting mining work going back to the early Bronze Age. Records suggest the Romans, during their occupation of Britain from 43 AD, were keen to develop the potential of this copper mountain resource. And copper from these mines was used to coat the hulls of Lord Nelson’s ships at Trafalgar.
The boom of copper mining during the late 18th century seemed to coincide with the spirit of the age, namely the epoch-making Industrial Revolution. And Amlwch, the nearby from where copper was exported, has the appellation of “Ancient Copper Town”. Now in the 21st century, with insatiable global demand for metals such as zinc, the prospects are brighter for the local economy. While Anglesey Mining may be no future Teck Cominco or Xstrata, it has very helpful global economic conditions and may soon start a new chapter in the long association of this island with natural resources.
David Phillips is editor and webmaster of Anglesey Today [http://www.anglesey-today.com] a local information resource on the latest news on Anglesey island, North Wales.