KIMBERLEY – The maiden mineral resource for dual-listed base metals company Orion Minerals’ Prieska zinc/copper project has exceeded expectations. The company on Monday announced a maiden mineral resource of 24.2-million tonnes, containing 873 655 t of zinc and 297 129 t of copper, for the Northern Cape project. CEO Errol Smart said in a statement that the Prieska project demonstrated the value of modern exploration techniques and methodology applied to high-quality, under-explored deposits. “As we intensify our regional exploration, having recently completed a regional airborne electromagnetic survey, we are confident of success in making further major discoveries in the Areachap belt,” he said.
Orion has now completed about 42 000 m of drilling on the deep sulphide target and has succeeded in validating extensive historic data for inclusion in geological modelling and geostatistical estimation. Orion anticipates that the additional holes will provide satisfactory drill spacing to delineate mineral resource estimates with an increased level of confidence as early as next quarter. This will allow inclusion of these mineral resources in detailed scheduling and mine design work as possible sources of feedstock for early production, potentially enabling the delineation of a maiden ore reserve. The open-pit target resource presents an interesting early production opportunity for consideration in the bankable feasibility study (BFS). Orion reported that early mining of an open-pit could bring forward production, while mine dewatering was under way. “With engineering studies and metallurgical optimisation progressing well, Orion is very confident of a positive outcome for the BFS currently under way.” Further drilling will be carried out during the first half of 2018 to upgrade the confidence classification of a substantial portion of the global mineral resource.