JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Sydney- and Johannesburg-listed company Orion Minerals will from November 26 initiate an airborne survey across a large area of South Africa’s Northern Cape as part of a regional exploration programme that will make use of the latest available technology in an area last explored in the 1980s.
Electromagnetic methods have advanced significantly since the last systematic exploration took place in the Northern Cape belt and CEO Errol Smart believes that Orion has a rare opportunity to enhance value by carrying out advanced and early stage projects at the same time.
The 962 km2 electromagnetic survey of the Areachap Belt will scrutinise a long stretch of highly prospective outcropping across many historically recorded zinc/copper occurrences.
Detailed investigation below a depth of 300 m has been sparse since South Africa’s former Anglovaal mining house discovered the Prieska zinc/copper deposit in 1968.
Now, following archive data reviews, the exploration team believes that Orion’s Northern Cape tenements, combined with the large Prieska Project already under way, position the company for rapid potential growth.
While resource delineation drilling at the Prieska Project remains the prime focus, new discoveries are envisaged as satellite operations to a Prieska Project production centre at Copperton, a mining settlement in central Karoo which saw its heyday when Anglovaal was active in the area between the 1970s and the turn of the century.
Leading airborne electromagnetic survey company SkyTEM has been contracted to fly the helicopter survey using high power technology for deep target imaging.
In addition, Orion stands to benefit from its research and development of exploration techniques applicable for massive sulphides, which was undertaken in the Fraser Range belt of Western Australia in 2013 and 2014.
As reported in Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online, Orion’s share price on Wednesday jumped 6.15% in Johannesburg on the company’s positive results from initial metallurgical testwork at the Prieska Project, as well as the decision of mining-focused private equity group Tembo Capital to extend its $6-million bridge loan term from December 15 to May 31, 2018.
The operational strategy is to optimise returns from mining the opencast mine and the deep sulphides, with the deep sulphide target poised to constitute the bulk of the life-of-mine plan.
Metallurgical testwork is taking place as part of a mine feasibility study, which is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2018.