JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Dual-listed base metals miner Orion Minerals’ share price on the JSE was trading 6.15% higher on Wednesday after the company announced the positive results from initial metallurgical testwork at its Prieska zinc/copper project and the extension of a loan facility.
Orion and mining-focused, private equity group Tembo Capital have agreed to extend the term of a $6-million bridge loan facility from December 15 to May 31, 2018.
The loan facility was agreed with Tembo in August, while Tembo affiliate Ndovu Capital subscribed for 73-million ordinary Orion shares to raise $1.75-million, at an issue price of 2.4c apiece.
Under the terms of the agreement, Orion agreed that it would use its best endeavours to undertake a capital raising by December 15 to raise additional equity to progress the Prieska project’s bankable feasibility study and to continue its South African exploration programmes.
That deadline has now been extended to May 31, 2018.
Meanwhile, Orion reported that the initial phase of metallurgical testwork at the Prieska project has yielded positive results that demonstrate the potential for it to produce high-quality marketable zinc and copper concentrates.
The deposit is amenable to concentration by froth flotation to produce saleable concentrate products, while testwork indicates potential to match or exceed historic mine metallurgical performance.
Further, a deep sulphide target achieved rougher recoveries exceeding 89% for copper and 93% for zinc, for a differential flotation flow sheet aimed at producing separate copper and zinc concentrates.
Orion MD and CEO Errol Smart noted that the “excellent” flotation response of both the supergene and hypogene sulphides was encouraging and confirmed that Orion’s design team was on track to improve on the already successful processing route that was historically used at the mine.
“We continue to develop the operational strategy and configuration to optimise returns from mining the openpit and deep sulphides, keeping in mind that the deep sulphide target will constitute the bulk of our life-of-mine plan.”
The subsequent phase of metallurgical testwork, which is starting now, is directed at developing optimum cleaner conditions, comminution characterisation, variability assessments and other design testwork required to formulate the most profitable processing design.
The metallurgical testwork programme is being undertaken as part of the mine feasibility study that is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of next year.