Minco PLC.

Published : December 01st, 2015

2015 Q3 MD&A Report

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2015 Q3 MD&A Report




For the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2015

Dated November 30, 2015

(Expressed in US Dollars, except per share amounts)

(Form 51-102F1)

Date: November 30, 2015


The following management discussion and analysis ('MD&A') of financial condition and results of operations of Minco plc ('Minco' or the 'Company'), should be read in conjunction with the unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto for the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2015, which have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ('IFRS'). All dollar amounts are stated in US dollars, unless otherwise noted.


Minco Plc, registered in the Republic of Ireland and listed on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange ('MIO'), is an exploration and development company, currently engaged in zinc-lead exploration in the United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland, and in evaluating a manganese project in New Brunswick, Canada and with investments in zinc‐silver projects in Mexico through holding 30 million shares (approximately 26%) in Xtierra Inc. listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX.V-'XAG').

Minco also holds a 2% Net Smelter Return ('NSR') royalty on the Curraghinalt gold property in Northern Ireland, which is being explored by Dalradian Resources Inc. (TSX-'DNA').


During spring of 2015, Minco completed a drilling programme at Lucky Strike South at Buchans in central Newfoundland, less than 250 m south of the former Lucky Strike mine where previous operator Asarco mined 5.6 million tonnes averaging 18.4% Zn, 8.6% Pb, 1.6% Cu, 112 g/t Ag & 1.7 g/t Au before closing the Buchans mine in 1984 . Lucky Strike was the largest orebody mined in Buchans where Asarco mined cumulatively 16.2 million tonnes averaging 14.51% Zn, 1.33% Cu, 7.56% Pb, 126 g/t Ag & 1.37 g/t Au between 1928 and 1984 from 5 main orebodies.

Minco's 2015 programme was undertaken to follow up of favourable results from drilling in 2014 and tested several mineralized stratigraphic horizons to explore for new high-grade massive sulphide deposits to depths of 300 metres. Highlights included the intersection of widespread ore clast mineralization comprised of massive sulphide fragments hosted by volcanic breccias within a deeper stratigraphic horizon known as the 'Ore Clast' horizon. This horizon is located below the Lucky Strike mine horizon and the lesser explored Engine House horizon.

All eight Minco holes designed to test the Ore Clast horizon intersected mineralized felsic volcanic breccia ranging from 1 to 23 metres in thickness, and containing massive sulphide and sulphide-rich clasts measuring up to 15 centimetres in diameter. Intercepts include 0.5 metres averaging 13.32% combined base metals (i.e., Cu%+Pb%+Zn%) as 1.80% Cu, 5.20% Pb, 6.32% Zn, 53.3 g/t Ag, and 0.18 g/t Au in hole H-15-3493, as well as 1.0 metre averaging 6.16% combined base metals as 0.35% Cu, 1.72% Pb, 4.10% Zn, 63.4 g/t Ag, and 0.27 g/t Au in hole H-15-3497.

In light of these positive results, Minco expanded its programme of re-logging historic drill holes to assess potential for new high-grade discoveries within the Ore Clast horizon, below depths of previous mining. During 2015, Minco re- logged 156 historic surface and underground drill holes (13,418 m) southwest of the former Lucky Strike mine. This re- logging work focused in on a small high-grade massive sulphide deposit, known as the West Orebody deposit, with reported base metal grades similar to Lucky Strike.

The West Orebody deposit was discovered by Asarco in 1940 at a depth of 300 m and consisted of a cluster of small but high-grade massive sulphide lenses. The small deposit and was partially mined during the mid-1940's with an approximate aggregate tonnage of less than 100,000 tonnes. While production records and other details are scanty, the West Orebody deposit has not been a focus of exploration since the 1940s when the deposit was tested by only short underground holes and a few widely-spaced surface holes. Previous underground drilling tended not to test the lateral extents of the ore horizon more than 50 metres beyond the developed orebody.

Re-logging and reinterpretation of archived drill cores by Minco now suggests this west orebody mineralization is located near the intersection of the Lucky Strike Horizon and the stratigraphically deeper, Ore Clast Horizon. It is further interpreted that the Ore Clast horizon is in part a structural feature or rift fault, active during formation of the Lucky

Strike and West Orebodies deposits, and may have acted as a control structure for the generation of high-grade massive sulphides. It is a potentially significant vector for discovery of additional high-grade massive sulphides deposits. Minco is planning to drill 2,000 metres in 5 holes in its 2016 programme to further explore the West Orebody deposit and a 400 m section of the inferred mineralized trend.


Minco's exploration project in the northern Pennines is centered on a 3.5 by 2.5 kilometre area in the vicinity of the village of Nenthead, the most prolific area of past production within the Pennines orefield which covers a total area of approximately 350 square miles. Over the period from late 2012 until the first quarter of 2015, Minco drilled a total of 7555 metres in 31 holes. Twenty five holes were sited to explore the Great Limestone and six holes tested the deeper basal succession.

Minco's 2012-2015 drill programme has established a significant stratiform component to the mineralisation within the Great Limestone which had not been previously recognised. Intersections within the Great Limestone has demonstrated the potential for significant stratiform mineralisation adjacent to historic workings. The presence of small 'flats' (stratiform stopes) on historic mine plans has proven indicative of laterally extensive stratiform replacement within the Great Limestone, with perhaps eighty percent remaining in place. Fifteen kilometres of these mineralised structures have been outlined by previous mining with flats recorded adjacent to 5.5 kilometres, all of which has potential for stratiform mineralisation.

The intersections of reasonable widths of lead and zinc mineralization at three different levels in two holes drilled on the Whitewood-Barneycraig-Williams fault/vein structure in Northumberland in early 2015, are considered very positive results and indicate the mineral potential of this large Whitewood-Barneycraig-Williams fault/vein structure which was previously demonstrated by historic mining to be mineralized over a strike length of 3.5 kilometres.

The extent of the stratiform mineralisation discovered by Minco in the Great Limestone to date is encouraging. Similar mineralisation within the thicker basal succession would be economically very significant.

A second phase of drilling is planned for 2016, subject to conclusion of land access agreements, to further explore the potential within both the Great Limestone and basal succession with the primary target for both being the Barneycraig- Whitewood fault complex.


In November 2015 Minco was granted three new Prospecting Licences by the Irish Minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The new licences, PLs 1228, 1229 and 3981, at Moate in County Westmeath, are centered on a specific geological target identified by Minco, with potential for zinc-lead mineralization of Tynagh Mine type.

Minco's new Moate licences are located along the northwestern margin of the Irish Midland Orefield on the 'Tynagh- Ballinalack Trend'. All but one of the major Irish zinc-lead deposits of the Irish Midland Orefield lie along the margins of the Orefield. The Moate target lies mid-way between the former Tynagh Mine, located 50 kilometres to the southwest, and the similar styled Ballinalack deposit, situated 35 kilometres to the northeast. The Tynagh Mine operated successfully from 1965 to 1981 producing 9,000,000 tonnes of ore, from both open pit and underground, at average grades of approximately 7% lead, 5.5% zinc, 0.5% copper and 2.6 ounces of silver per tonne.

Minco's studies of previous drilling have outlined a geological setting that Minco believes mirrors that at the former Tynagh Mine, where zinc-lead mineralization was hosted by breccias developed at the margin between the reef and off-reef limestone facies. The geology at Moate is also comparable to that at the smaller Ballinalack deposit.

The Tynagh Mine and the Ballinalack deposit lie along the major, northeast striking basement trend, the 'Tynagh-Ballinalack Trend', comparable to the Lisheen Trend, which underlies the Lisheen and Galmoy Mines in Tipperary and Kilkenny, and comparable to the Pallas Green Trend which hosts the Pallas Green deposits discovered by Minco in 2007.

The Moate area has seen intermittent exploration over the past fifty years following discovery in 1968 of the Moyvoughly deposit (125,000 tonnes averaging 8% zinc plus lead) located immediately to the east of Minco's new licences. Exploration at Moate in the past, which includes nine kilometres of Diamond drilling, has focused almost exclusively on the potential for Navan-type mineralization within the Moyvoughly Beds, initially at shallow depths in the footwall of the major (300 metre throw) Moyvoughly Fault and later to depths of 600 metres below surface in the hanging wall. The potential for reef hosted zinc-lead mineralization of 'Tynagh-type' at Moate has never been explored.

Minco has planned an initial exploration programme consisting of six inclined drill holes for a total of 1400 metres of drilling.


In July 2014 Minco completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment ('PEA') of its wholly owned Woodstock electrolytic manganese metal ('EMM') project, located 5 km west of the town of Woodstock and the junction of the Trans Canada and I-95 Highways in west-central New Brunswick, Canada.

Given the large capital investment required to build an EMM plant at Woodstock, Minco has focused its efforts on attracting a development partner from one of the existing EMM producers in China. However, the global economic crisis has forced EMM producers, principally in China, to confront a host of difficulties that include a significant decrease in EMM prices, production over-capacity and rising costs of raw materials, electricity and labor. These strained economic conditions have reportedly resulted in the closure of a significant number of Chinese EMM plants, dropping from 184 plants in 2011 down to only 23 plants in May of 2015. Despite the closure in a significant number of EMM plants, the industry is still faced with excess production capacity that is anticipated to continue exerting downward pressure on the EMM price until a balance is reached between production capacity and market demand.

Despite most EMM producers focusing almost exclusively on achieving internal efficiencies, Minco has been able to attract the attention of one of China's largest EMM producers who recognizes the advantages offered by the Woodstock project and has completed a technical due diligence.

In the meantime, Minco has initiated an internal screening level study to assess potentially reducing the capital investment required for the project by processing lower tonnages. In addition, Minco is investigating possible alternative measures to improve the project at lower processing rates that include:

  • The use of sulphur dioxide for leaching of the pre-concentrate material as a means of potentially reducing the capital investment associated with installation of a fully-integrated sulphuric acid plant;

  • Production of electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD) as an alternative to EMM as a means of potentially reducing the operating cost and/or improving on the revenue to operating cost ratio at lower processing rates;

  • Co-production of iron oxide pigment with EMM as a means of increasing the project revenue by recovering a high- value product from the iron associated with the resource, and;

  • Assessment of process equipment purchase cost saving that could potentially be realized by procuring the majority of the process equipment from Chinese equipment suppliers.

Among the many positive attributes of Minco's Woodstock EMM project, the key competitive advantages are that Woodstock is anticipated to have a project life of 40 years, excellent potential to increase the resource and extend the project life further, proximity to and ability to enter the U.S. market without being subject to the 14% import duty applicable to all other EMM producers in the world, and, most importantly, a projected operating cost that is anticipated to be amongst the lowest in the industry averaging US$0.68/lb EMM over the life of the project.

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Minco PLC.

ISIN : IE0004678326
CUSIP : C372AS890
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Minco Plc is a zinc and lead development stage company based in Ireland.

Its main exploration properties are LAGUNA and BILBAO in Mexico and CURRAGHINALT in Ireland.

Minco Plc is listed in Germany and in United Kingdom. Its market capitalisation is GBX 1.3 billions as of today (US$ 1.4 billions, € 1.2 billions).

Its stock quote reached its lowest recent point on May 23, 2003 at GBX 0.06, and its highest recent level on November 21, 2003 at GBX 9.75.

Minco Plc has 478 142 184 shares outstanding.

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Project news of Minco PLC.
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12/1/20152015 Q3 Interim Financials
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11/13/2015Minco Granted Three New Prospecting Licences in Ireland
10/5/2015Shareholding in Minco PLC
9/10/2015Shareholding in Minco PLC
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