ASX-listed copper developer Orion Minerals is on my project radar, not only this week, but has been for a while now with its ‘waste no time’ approach to project development at its Prieska copper-zinc project in South Africa’s Northern Cape.

The company has applied the same approach at the recently acquired Okiep Copper Complex, also in the Northern Cape, where virtually no time has passed between the acquisition announcement and the release of the maiden mineral resource estimate.

AUTHOR: Mining Review Africa’s senior deputy editor, Chantelle Kotze

Read more: Orion looks to secure Okiep Copper Complex

The Okiep Copper Complex comprises the core of a premier historical copper-producing district that produced >2 Mt of copper over a 150-year period ending 2003.

Not only does Okiep provide an exceptional growth and diversification opportunity in a historic world-class copper mining district, the JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate, which comprises a healthy 8.9 Mt at 1.37% Cu, containing 122 000 t copper, has excellent potential for both strike and dip extensions as well as the potential for high-grade blows down-dip.

Despite only being verified through Orion’s due diligence investigations, the mineral resource will undergo a combination of further due diligence work on the historical database, combined with modern exploration aimed at making new discoveries – bearing in mind that this district has seen virtually no exploration in decades, with no modern high powered airborne geophysics applied.

In addition to this, Orion will  re-evaluate the positive feasibility studies completed by Southern African Tantalum Mining (SAFTA) in 2018 that were used to support a mining works programme and a mining right application. Orion will also assist SAFTA to progress additional prospecting right applications that have been lodged to allow drill testing of compelling electromagnetic targets, while the grant of the mining right is awaited.

The mineral resource is located within the SAFTA mining right application and consists of three separate mineralised deposits in close proximity to each other. Mineralisation is hosted by shallow, sub-surface bodies.

Orion intends to apply a similar strategy at Okiep to the successful approach adopted at its Prieska project, which saw it rapidly advance from project acquisition to establish a globally significant Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves, 2012 JORC compliant mineral resource and ore reserve, high-quality bankable feasibility study and secure full permitting – making it one of the few development-ready base metal assets worldwide.

It is for this reason that the Orion Minerals’ recently acquired Okiep project has my attention this week.