Minco PLC.

Published : May 27th, 2016

2016 First Quarter Managements Discussion and Analysis

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2016 First Quarter Managements Discussion and Analysis




For the three month period ended March 31, 2016

Dated May 27, 2016

(Expressed in US Dollars, except per share amounts)

(Form 51-102F1)

Date: May 27, 2016


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 condensed interim consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto for the three month period ended March 31, 2016, 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 Canada, the United Kingdom 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").


Since 2015, Minco has largely focused its exploration efforts within an area immediately south of the former Lucky Strike mine to explore for new high-grade resources that may positively impact open pit and underground development of the Company's Lundberg deposit. At Lucky Strike, 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. This deposit was the largest orebody mined at Buchans, where Asarco mined

16.2 million tonnes averaging 14.51% Zn, 1.33% Cu, 7.56% Pb, 126 g/t Ag & 1.37 g/t Au from 5 deposits b efore mining ceased in 1984.

The Lucky Strike mine exploited high-grade massive sulphides located immediately above a large, lower grade, stockwork mineralised zone that comprises the Company's undeveloped Lundberg deposit. The Lundberg deposit hosts Indicated resources of 23.4 million tonnes grading 1.41% Zn, 0.60% Pb, 0.35% Cu, 5.31 g/t Ag and 0.07 g/t Au, plus Inferred resources of 4.3 million tonnes averaging 1.29% Zn, 0.54% Pb, 0.27% Cu, 4.47 g/t Ag and 0.08 g/t Au (see Minco press release dated March 4, 2013 for more complete disclosure). The Lundberg deposit was initially assessed by a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) in 2011 (see Buchans Minerals press release dated August 12, 2011), and has since been the subject of further work including resource drilling, metallurgical test work and environmental assessment.

Diamond drilling undertaken by Minco in 2015 south of the former Lucky Strike mine intersected widespread mineralization comprised of massive sulphide fragments or ore clasts, including 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 results, Minco initiated a program of re-logging of historic drill holes during the second half of 2015 to assess this area's potential for discovery of new high-grade resources. This program included relogging of 156 historic surface and underground drill holes (13,418 m) and ultimately focused on an area 200 metres southwest of the former Lucky Strike mine, near the former West Orebody deposit. This West Orebody deposit was discovered in 1940 at 300 metres depth and consisted of a cluster of small but high-grade massive sulphide lenses. The deposit was mined during the mid-1940's as a satellite to the Lucky Strike orebody, and is believed to have produced less than 100,000 tonnes of ore. The deposit has not been a focus of exploration since the 1940s.

Minco's relogging confirmed the West Orebody deposit remains underexplored by short, historic underground drilling and a few widely-spaced surface holes. Minco further believes this mineralization may be associated with a controlling structure or mineralized trend that was active during formation of the Lucky Strike and West Orebody deposits, and that this trend represents a priority exploration target for the discovery of new high-grade massive sulphides. Minco is currently planning a five hole, 2,000 metre drilling program to explore this target in early 2017. Meanwhile, the Company's ongoing re-logging program continues to assess targets in the vicinity of the West Orebody and Lucky Strike deposits for discovery of additional high-grade resources near Lundberg. This program is expected to dominate field activities in Buchans for the remainder of 2016.

In April 2016, the Company received $100,000 in grants from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador's Junior Exploration Assistance (JEA) program in support of its Lucky Strike South drilling undertaken in 2015. Minco acknowledges this financial support from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and intends to seek additional grant funding under the 2016-17 JEA program.


In December 2015, through its wholly owned subsidiary Buchans Minerals Corporation ("Buchans Minerals), Minco entered into a collaboration agreement with Canadian Zinc Corporation (TSX:CZN) ("Canadian Zinc") to undertake a research programme to complete physical and metallurgical bench scale studies on seven volcanogenic massive sulphide ("VMS") deposits located in the Victoria Lake district of central Newfoundland and to share research data on their respective central Newfoundland Cu-Pb-Zn-Ag-Ag deposits. The total cost of the research project is estimated at $735,000 with Buchans Minerals and Canadian Zinc providing up to $100,000 and the remaining $535,000 to be funded through the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador ("RDC") GeoEXPLORE Industry-led R & D Technology Development and Demonstration Program.

Thibault & Associates Inc. ("Thibault"), an independent process chemical engineering firm has been engaged to conduct the program the objective of which is to evaluate the technical and economic viability of utilizing a central milling facility to develop the seven VMS deposits located in the Victoria Lake district to the east of Red Indian Lake. The deposits include three deposits held by Minco (Bobbys Pond-100%, Daniels Pond-100% and Tulks Hill-49%) and four deposits held by Canadian Zinc (Lemarchant, Boomerang-Domino, Tulks East, and Long Lake).

The technical evaluation is focused on conducting a series of metallurgical tests that include mineralogical assessments of the deposits, grindability characterization, acid generation assessment, bench scale Dense Media Separation ("DMS"), pre- concentration testing and bench scale flotation testing.

To date the program has conducted mineralogical assessments, grindability tests, DMS tests and is now conducting bench scale flotation tests. Preliminary results indicate that:

  • Preconcentration of the ore by DMS (prior to flotation) has been determined to be technically viable for semi-massive and stringer sulphide samples from the Boomerang-Domino, Lemarchant, Long Lake, Bobbys Pond and Daniels Pond deposits.

  • Initial flotation tests indicate the deposits are amenable to a common flotation flowsheet with the sequential Cu-Pb-Zn flotation flowsheet providing the best overall performance for all four deposits tested. Further development of the sequential flotation by bench scale testing is in progress.

Once the bench scale testing program is completed it will be followed-up by the development of a process simulation and order of magnitude cost assessment model (AACE Class V) to evaluate and identify the key factors impacting the operating economics of a centralized milling concept for processing of the base metal deposits. Results from the modeling will be used to help optimize the exploration and development budgets, by focusing on the key factors that are critical to assessing the economic potential and viability of developing some of the deposits through a central milling facility.


The Company believes that given the scale of the Woodstock project, the optimum development path is to seek an experienced and well-financed partner from within the electrolytic manganese metal ("EMM") industry. Given that approximately 97% of the world's EMM is produced in China, the optimal partner would be one of the larger EMM companies currently operating within China. With this development strategy in mind, it must be noted that the timing of attracting such a partner is very much linked to the economic conditions currently prevailing within the EMM sector itself. Unfortunately, with the price of EMM having dropped to a low of US$ 0.65 / lb EMM late last year and only recently recovering to a level closer to the estimated average Chinese operating cost of US$ 0.90 / lb EMM, target partners are still very much focused on achieving internal efficiencies and are not yet ready to consider developing additional projects outside China.

It is important to note however, that despite the anticipated delay in attracting a development partner, the attributes of the Woodstock project are strong with key competitive advantages including 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 12% 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.


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.

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.

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 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.

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

Exploration Properties - Schedule of Deferred Exploration Expenditures For the three month period ended March 31, 2016


31 March



December 31



December 31




































Bobbys Pond
























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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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