Orion Prieska
Orion Minerals' Prieska copper zinc project

ASX and JSE-listed minerals explorer Orion Minerals’ subsidiary company, Repli, has submitted an application to convert the 723 ha of executed prospecting rights on the Prieska zinc-copper project into a mining right.

South Africa – The mining right application by Orion Minerals’ subsidiary is supported by a comprehensive environmental authorisation application and a provisional mining works programme.

The mining works programme contemplates both open pit and underground mining operations taking place and use of a froth flotation metallurgical process to produce separate high-quality zinc and copper concentrates that can be transported by existing road or rail to established ports and exported to international buyers.

The mining right application also covers the possible toll treatment and/or joint operations with surrounding future mining right holders.

“The application for the Mining Right marks an important milestone for the company,” says Orion Minerals MD and CEO Errol Smart.

“Our bankable feasibility study (BFS) is well on track for completion in early Q4 2018. The mining right application will allow us to meet our objective of commencing mine construction in mid-2019, subject to the anticipated successful completion of the BFS,” Smart notes.

The mining right will allow the company the use of the existing underground access development, on which Orion Minerals has completed comprehensive engineering studies.

Importantly, these studies have confirmed the underground infrastructure is in good condition and is suitable for future use, resulting in reduced capital and time requirements, to reach the Deep Sulphide Target.

The Deep Sulphide mineral resource straddles the Repli and Vardocube prospecting rights and is accessed via shafts and declines located on the Repli mining right application.

Increase in total mineral resources at Prieska project

Orion Minerals has announced an increase to the total mineral resource at the Prieska project through the addition of a maiden mineral resource for Vardocube (70%-owned by Orion, 30% BEE) which holds the southern extension of the Prieska zinc-copper project.

The total minerals resource has increases to 29.4 Mt containing 1.13 Mt of zinc and 0.36 Mt of copper.

The JORC-compliant mineral resource is based on drilling data available as at 31 December 2017. Further drilling is ongoing with the objective of achieving an upgrade in the confidence classification of a substantial portion of the mineral resource and to test the currently open extensions of the deposit.

The addition of the Vardocube prospecting right has included an important higher-grade extension to the Prieska Deep Sulphide deposit.

“We are confident that the application of the exploration techniques that were successful in extending the northern end of the deposit on Repli will again deliver significant extensions on this southern strike extension, which is also open on dip and strike,” says Smart.

The Vardocube area is geologically continuous with the Repli area  and both were located within a single mining right at the time when drilling was conducted by previous mine operators, Anglovaal, using the same drilling, sampling and assaying practice across the deposit.

Orion Minerals conducted extensive twin and infill drilling on the Repli area and up to the Vardocube prospecting right boundary during 2017 to confirm and validate the historic Anglovaal drilling data.