“White Gold” may be hidden within Ireland’s stone walls

Ireland has never had vast reserves of precious metals, oil or coal, but future fortunes may be hiding in plain sight across much of the east of the country.

A London mining company prospecting for lithium – the “white gold” that’s a crucial element in making rechargeable batteries for everything from electric cars to phones – has recently found it in dry stone walls next to a co-Waterford field has found high grades of the metal began prospecting.

Technology Minerals, which has exploration licenses covering 526 square kilometers of land in Leinster and east Munster, announced the discovery on Thursday.

The search for lithium around the world has intensified as regions like the European Union set targets for electric vehicle use and a phasing out of petrol and diesel engines.

The metal is typically found in minerals such as spodumene pegmatite, an important ore for lithium. Much of the world’s lithium is currently produced by countries such as Australia, Chile and China.

Technology Minerals said that preliminary studies at sites in Co Waterford and Co Wexford have returned high-grade spodumene assays.

At Co Waterford, the Company has been searching at the site of a trench originally dug by a lithium survey nearly 50 years ago. Surveys at the time indicated that deposits found in Ireland had no commercial potential. Marketability is changing as modern technology relies heavily on powerful rechargeable batteries, although how the Irish fare remains to be seen.

“Drystone field walls in close proximity to the historical trench showed abundant spodumene,” said Technology Minerals, with three of the four samples collected from the wall containing high-grade lithium.

A day-long exploration of the Co Waterford and Co Wexford sites and the resulting finds have excited investors, with London-based Technology Minerals shares up as much as 8 percent. The minnow is listed on the Alternative Investment Market and has a market cap of £24m (€27m).

Technology Minerals Chief Executive Alex Stanbury said the Company was “very pleased” with the results of its initial work program in Ireland.

He said the work had “confirmed the presence of high-grade lithium in spodumene pegmatites and further enhanced our confidence in the potential of our prospects in the Irish pegmatite belt.”

This so-called pegmatite belt runs roughly south of Dublin through Co Wicklow and into Co Waterford and Co Wexford.

“Exploration programs are expected to begin later this month to identify specific areas for follow-up drilling and we continue to add new applications to our project portfolio in Ireland focused on lithium exploration, a critical mineral needed for the transition to carbon neutral economy,” says Stanbury.

The Company was granted a new prospecting license by the Department for the Environment earlier this year, adding to the 15 licenses Technology Minerals already held in Ireland.

Global lithium production tripled between 2015 and 2021 and could increase sevenfold by 2030. Primary reserves in Europe are currently located in countries such as Portugal, Finland, Austria and Germany.

https://www.independent.ie/news/white-gold-could-be-hidden-in-irelands-stone-walls-42081989.html “White Gold” may be hidden within Ireland’s stone walls

Fry Electronics Team

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