Plans for a brand new mining operation in the north of England have been revealed, after a huge amount of zinc was found in the area. Millions of pounds worth of the precious material have been discovered below the North Pennines, and Canadian-based firm Minco has wasted no time in making predictions that up to one million tonnes of ore could be extracted each year. Minco has already invested in the region of £500,000 into its work in the North Pennines, where it has been allowed to test drill on land close to the border of County Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland. The firm believes its results are "very promising" and they may now be used to justify further mining in the area. To date, five boreholes, each about 500 metres deep, have been dug in the hunt for lead, but it is the discovery of zinc that has now hit the headlines. Rowan Maule, executive director of Minco, told the BBC: "We believe that this could be a world-class deposit. There is still a lot of work to do, which would involve a lot more drilling over several years, but the potential here is massive. There could easily be, in five or six years from now, a major mine developed, should we be able to go through all the planning processes." Mr Maule went on to suggest that up to 500 mining jobs could be created at the site if a new mine is to be created and the extraction of zinc is to become a full-time pursuit. However, Minco will first go through a 12-month exploration programme to learn more about the area it is testing. The efforts are currently being concentrated on an area near Allenheads in Northumberland and another site close to Nenthead in Cumbria. It could be a good time for young people in the north-east to consider a career in the mining industry, with projects as large and profitable as this in the pipeline.
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