Australian mining firm Energia Minerals has secured an exploration licence (EL) for the Salafossa mine in north-east Italy, around 400km from Gorno zinc project.

The new EL is located in northern Italy within 7km of the Austrian border and was granted by Regione Veneto.

The Salafossa mine is said to have historic production of high-quality zinc concentrate, as well as archive data to guide exploration strategy.

According to the company, the exploration potential of the mine complements its Gorno project.

“We will begin by digitising the relevant data stored in regional and state archives to assist in gaining a better understanding of the regional geology.”

Energia Minerals chairman and CEO Alexander Burns said: “Salafossa has similar advantages to Gorno with its location in the heart of Western Europe, access to modern infrastructure, extensive historical archived data, as well as the unique feature of having produced high quality concentrates over many decades for consumption by Europe’s major refineries.

“We will begin by digitising the relevant data stored in regional and state archives to assist in gaining a better understanding of the regional geology. As we are doing with Gorno, our focus for Salafossa will be to identify nearby exploration targets with a view to discovering, and establishing a resource at this historic operation.”

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Mining operations at the project were carried out by Societa Mineraria e Metallurgica di Pertusola between 1964 and 1986, when it was closed. The mine operated at an average production rate of around 500,000t a year and is estimated to have produced 11Mt of sulphide ore grading 5% zinc and 1% lead.