In the modern world, zinc plays second fiddle to iron. About half of the blue-white or blue-gray metal mined is used in coating iron to prevent the latter from rusting, a process known as galvanization. However, it is clear from archaeological discoveries that zinc had a much more important role in earlier times. For example, brass artifacts dated before 1000 BCE have been found in Palestine. Brass is a metal alloy composed of copper and zinc. Given zinc’s venerable past, the Kootenay Zinc Corporation (CSE: ZNK) (OTCQB: KTNNF) is betting the lustrous mineral will continue to have an important role in the future. A sextet of star prospectors is guiding the British Columbia-based junior exploration and mining company as it continues its quest for the metal with atomic number 30.
Supplies of zinc have been contracting since late 2015, when a number of major mines were closed or were winding down operations. In April 2015, Vedanta Resources announced that it would close its Lisheen Mine in Ireland. The last shipment from the mine in Tipperary County took place in January 2016, according to this report (http://dtn.fm/cX1bz) in the Irish Times. Lisheen was Europe’s second largest zinc mine with a capacity of around 175,000 tons. Then, in October 2015, Australian-Chinese concern MMG Limited (HKG: 1208) announced (http://dtn.fm/Y4Pf3) that, after 16 years, mining at Century, Australia’s largest open-pit zinc mine, had “completed” in August 2015. At one time the world’s third largest zinc mine, Century was still producing around 465,696 tons, or 3.5% of global zinc output, in its last full year. Also in October 2015, the Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore said it would cut zinc production across its mines worldwide by 500,000 tons, about one-third of its annual output, according to CNBC (http://dtn.fm/R1ThX).
That wasn’t the end of it. Zinc mines in China were also shuttered. A 2016 report (http://dtn.fm/tmE0J) disclosed that Beijing has ordered the shutdown of a number of zinc mines in Hunan Province, the center of Chinese production, owing to safety and environmental concerns. However, at the same time as these supply constraints multiplied, demand was set to increase, since China’s gargantuan infrastructural One Belt, One Road initiative was gathering pace. Formally announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the global project is expected to increase demand for steel and, consequently, zinc. As a result, analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote in a research note recently that “Zinc Has by Far The Most Bullish Supply Side Dynamic”, according to several reports.
As Kootenay continues its search for zinc at the Sully property, a 1,375 hectare concession located near Kimberley, B.C., it has enlisted the talent of six star prospectors. Making up that illustrious sextet are Peter Meredith, Jonathan Rubenstein, Stuart (Tookie) Angus, Paul Ransom, David Broughton and Brian Jones.
Peter Meredith sits on the advisory board. He is a current director of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and a former deputy chairman and CFO. The chairman of Mag Silver Corp., Jonathan Rubenstein is also on the advisory board, as is Tookie Angus, the current chairman of zinc producer Nevsun Resources Ltd., which operates one of the highest-grade open-pit copper mines in the world.
The technical team includes Paul Ransom, a geologist and noted Sullivan SEDEX deposit expert. He worked for 33 years at the Sullivan Mine and Cominco (now Teck Resources). Ransom has also authored and/or co-authored 10 papers on the geology of the Sullivan deposit. He is Sully Project Manager. Dr. David Broughton, senior technical advisor, is also on the technical team. He is a recognized expert in sediment-hosted copper deposits and spearheaded the discovery of two major mineral deposits, Kamoa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Platreef in South Africa for Ivanhoe Mines. The technical team also includes Brian Jones (Excel Geophysics), a noted gravity expert involved in high profile, large-scale surveys for mineral exploration and resource estimates, including the Voisey’s Bay Project.
The Sully property is hosted in rocks of similar age and origin as those of the legendary Sullivan deposit. Located only 18 miles (30 kilometers) east of Kimberley and the Sullivan Mine, Kootenay’s star team could strike zinc any day.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.KootenayZinc.com
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