Orion Minerals Ltd (ASX:ORN) (JSE:ORN) has started a new phase of high-impact exploration drilling targeting near-mine and regional VMS copper-zinc and nickel-copper targets at Prieska Copper-Zinc Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape.
The company has mobilised two diamond drill rigs to the Areachap tenements, where it plans to drill 10 diamond holes for a total of 1,800 metres and nine reverse circulation (RC) holes for 640 metres.
Initially, drilling will be undertaken at K3 and K6 prospects within the Kielder project on Dooniespan prospecting right, 15 kilometres northwest of the planned Prieska Copper-Zinc Mine (PCZM).
“Delighted to resume exploration”
Orion’s managing director and CEO Errol Smart said: “We have compelling drill targets right across our Areachap tenement holdings in the Northern Cape that we have been itching to test but have not been able to because of the lockdown requirements for responsible management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With South Africa finally moving to Lockdown Level 1 from September 21, 2020, we are absolutely delighted to be in a position to finally resume exploration fieldwork after a nine-month suspension.
“Our management team has used the lockdown period to progress licensing and access agreements and we are now about to re-commence an exciting new phase of exploration across the belt.”
He said the Prieska Copper-Zinc Mine was one of the few fully permitted and development-ready base metal assets worldwide.
“It is underpinned by a compelling investment case outlined in the updated BFS of May 2020 which included an NPV of A$779 million from a 12-year foundation phase mine, planned to produce around 22,000 tonnes per annum of copper and around 70,000 tonnes per annum of zinc.
“Any new discoveries in the near-mine environment or further afield across our Areachap licences will benefit from their proximity to the world-class infrastructure we are planning to develop, building on the existing brownfields mine.
Potential to extend mine life
Smart said: “Our exploration team believes there is exceptional potential to grow production and extend mine life, both within the mine itself and in the surrounding tenements.
“We believe there is also a potential for a major nickel-copper-cobalt-PGE mine at Jacomynspan, 65 kilometres north of the Prieska project.
“My expectation is that prices for ‘new era’ metals required for the decarbonisation of the global economy are set to surge in coming years, and Orion is ideally placed to use its first-mover advantage and proven operations model to rapidly expand our business in the Northern Cape.”
After completing holes at K3 and K6 prospects, rigs will be mobilised to the northern prospecting rights where drilling will be carried out on the Namaqua-Disawell and Masiqhame prospecting rights at the Boksputs, Kantienpan and Jacomynspan prospects.
At Boksputs, drilling will test an electromagnetic response below known copper mineralisation while at Kantienpan, Orion plans to investigate the potential that reported historical Iscor drilling results under-reported copper and zinc grades.
At Jacomynspan nickel-copper deposit, drilling will test for high-grade nickel-copper mineralisation close to surface and provide samples for metallurgical test-work.