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Abstract

Introduction

The Lower Carboniferous carbonate rocks of the Irish Midlands host one of the world’s major orefields. The Midlands area stretches from the Mallow area in the south to the Navan-Oldcastle area in the north and is bound to the east by the Leinster Massif (Fig. 1). Although limited medieval mining for silver took place at Silvermines, it was not until the 1960s that Ireland became a significant world producer of zinc. The deposits and prospects discovered in the 1960s and 1970s were mostly subcropping; the discovery of concealed orebodies at Galmoy (1986) and Lisheen (1990) marked a new phase in Irish base metal exploration. These recent discoveries will ensure that Ireland remains a major zinc producer.

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