Orion Minerals shines as ‘high-grade’ copper intercepts support early production at Prieska

Orion Minerals (ASX:ORN) has reported ‘outstanding, high-grade’ copper intercepts following an infill drilling program at its Prieska Copper-Zinc Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.

The intercepts were made at the +105 Level Crown Pillar area at the flagship project and were generated via 14 infill drill holes for 917.87m.

Orion reports that the results provide strong support for its Early Production Strategy, with grades exceeding expectations and opens up the potential to undertake shallow underground mining in the early phases of development.

The results will provide support in upgrading the Level Crown Inferred Resource into the Indicated category as part of ongoing feasibility studies.

The ‘significant’ results include:

  • Hole OCOU164: 7.46m @ 9.24% Cu, 0.19%Zn, 0.44g/t Au, 17.46g/t Ag from 45.50m
  • Hole OCOU155: 12.53m @ 4.89% Cu, 0.04% Zn, 0.51g/t Au, 15.12g/t Ag from 43.52m
  • Hole OCOU142: 6.05m @ 5.52% Cu, 1.83% Zn, 0.26g/t Au, 17.18g/t Ag from 45.00m
  • Hole OCOU151: 6.25m @ 1.54% Cu, 0.16% Zn, 0.17g/t Au, 6.62g/t Ag from 62.00m
  • Hole OCOU148: 3.10m @ 2.10% Cu, 0.81% Zn, 0.25g/t Au, 6.76g/t Ag from 51.00m
  • Hole OCOU156: 3.40m @ 6.91% Cu, 0.07% Zn, 0.21g/t Au, 4.84g/t Ag from 58.00m

Addressing the results, Orion Minerals Managing Director Errol Smart said: “The infill drilling has confirmed and exceeded our expectations, returning outstanding widths and grades of high-grade copper sulphide mineralisation within the +105 level Crown Pillar.

This is a great result for our team. At face value, the grades intersected to date mostly exceed that of the average grade of the standing Inferred Resource estimate, making the early start of mining via an open pit an increasingly attractive opportunity. 

Our early production strategy aims to target the open pit and remnant pillars while dewatering is undertaken on Prieska Deeps

Our early production strategy aims to target the open pit and remnant pillars while dewatering is undertaken on Prieska Deeps.

These results provide strong support for that strategy, with the higher-than-expected grades also opening up the possibility that we may be able to undertake shallow underground mining in the early phases of the development, further optimising financial returns.

Work is continuing as part of the ongoing feasibility studies to determine the optimal approach.”

The company also notes the results that exceeded expectations of copper grades with enriched gold mineralisation have also confirmed the intercepted zinc is depleted within the supergene zone.

In addition, it is reported that these initial results have led to an update in the orebody model with the resource being re-estimated and re-classified where appropriate.

The Prieska Copper-Zinc Project is located about 270km south-west of the region capital city of Kimberley and has historically produced over 430,000 tonnes of copper and 1Mt of zinc from 46.8Mt of sulphide ore milled.

The project currently boasts a globally significant VMS resource of 30.49Mt @ 1.2% Cu and 3.7% Zn including Indicated Mineral Resources of 19.13Mt @ 1.18% Cu and 3.59% Zn.

With the current infill drilling campaign still ongoing, Orion announces that open-pit optimisation and Reserve estimation will commence once the drilling results deliver updated Mineral Resource Estimates for the project.

Images: Orion Minerals Ltd
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.