Orion Minerals Limited (ASX/JSE: ORN) announced that shallow high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt and platinum group elements were intersected from the drilling at its Jacomynspan Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
The company said that the shallow massive sulphide zone comprising 31.53m at 0.72% Ni, 0.34% Cu, 0.05% Co and 0.45g/t 2PGE+Au from 100.63m down-hole, including 7m at 1.55% Ni, 0.345% Cu, 0.10% Co and 0.43g/t 2PGE+Au from 106.00m down-hole has substantially upgraded the prospectivity of the project.
ORN noted that the intersection commences from just 85m below surface, highlighting an outstanding opportunity to drill out a shallow zone potentially extending over a strike length of up to 3km. The company noted that previous drilling had targeted the deeper parts of the deposit with a view to evaluating underground mining potential, leaving the shallower parts of the structure virtually unexplored.
Drilling at Jacomynspan
The company had recently commenced drilling at its Jacomynspan Nickel-Copper-Cobalt-PGE Project, located 80km north-west of its flagship Prieska Copper-Zinc Project in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
Jacomynspan currently hosts a Mineral Resource of 6.8Mt at 0.57% Ni, 0.33% Cu, 0.03% Co, 0.19g/t Pt, 0.12g/t Pd, 0.07g/t Au.
ORN announced that the diamond drill hole OJPD055, designed to complete drill section 5 after encouraging results were obtained in drill hole OJPD054, has now returned a significant high-grade massive sulphide intercept.
Massive sulphide zone
The company announced that the diamond drill hole OJPD055 intersected a broad zone of strong mineralisation comprising 31.53m from 100.63m at 0.72% Ni, 0.34% Cu, 0.05% Co and 0.45g/t 2PGE+Au from 100.63m down-hole, including a higher-grade zone of 7.00m from 106.00m at 1.55% Ni, 0.35% Cu, 0.10% Co and 0.43g/t 2PGE+Au from 106.00m down-hole.
ORN noted that the mineralisation is hosted by the Jacomynspan Intrusive, an ultramafic body striking roughly east-west for more than 3km with a thickness of up to 70m and dipping 80 degrees south.
The company reported that the high-grade mineralisation intersected in OJDP055 occurred just 85m below surface, highlighting the need to drill-out the upper 200m of the deposit over the interpreted strike length of over 3km.
Previous drilling by other companies
The company said that the drilling completed by various companies along the 3km of strike length of the Jacomynspan Intrusive concentrated on the deeper parts of the deposit and very few holes intersected the deposit above 150m vertical depth, as historical exploration was undertaken with a mindset focused on underground mining.
Strong potential for open pit mining
Orion said that the lack of shallow drilling at Jacomynspan leaves the company with a significant opportunity to explore at shallow depth, above the historical drill intercepts and known nickel-copper-cobalt mineralisation at depth.
ORN announced that it is currently investigating the potential to exploit the shallow parts of the Jacomynspan deposit through open pit mining.
The company said that work is currently underway to plan an extensive resource drill-out targeting the upper 200m of the deposit, with a view to establishing a JORC Mineral Resource as the foundation for economic studies. This work is being progressed in parallel with metallurgical testwork.
Orion’s Managing Director and CEO, Errol Smart, said: “We could not have asked for a better start to our initial drilling to test the shallow open pit potential at Jacomynspan. The high-grade massive sulphide intercept in diamond hole OJPD055 has certainly exceeded our expectations in terms of the potential for higher-grade nickel mineralisation to occur close to surface. This is the best intersection ever achieved at Jacomynspan and confirms our view that there is a significant open pit opportunity at this project.
What this intercept tells us is that there is a significant zone of shallow sulphide nickel-copper-cobalt-PGE mineralisation within the ultramafic structure, commencing at a depth of around 85m vertically below surface.
Because this sulphide mineralisation is so shallow, we see a clear opportunity to add substantial value to the project in a short space of time and at relatively little cost. We are now planning an intensive resource drill-out focused on the upper 200m, in parallel with metallurgical investigation which are currently underway. We also intend to sample and test the metallurgical charcteristics of the upper 60m of oxidised ore, that has been completely ignored in the past.”
*Image Source: Orion Minerals Limited