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Orion to begin regional exploration on the Areachap belt

Published by
Global Mining Review,

Orion Minerals NL has announced the successful initiation of the mineral resource drill-out currently underway at the Prieska zinc-copper project in South Africa. The company intends on expanding its activities to begin testing the highly prospective palaeo sea floor located within its Northern Cape tenements, which are known to host numerous large Zn – Cu rich sulfide mineral occurrences.

The belt was the focus of only a short-lived exploration boom in the 1970s and early 1980s (following the discovery of the Prieska Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide [VMS] deposit by Anglovaal in 1968), during which, many large exploration companies (such as Anglo American, Newmont and Anglovaal) were successful in identifying several additional VMS and Ni-Cu occurrences.

However, only a few of these VMS occurrences were investigated in detail or below a depth of 300 m below surface.

Following archive data reviews, Orion’s exploration team believes that the exceptional exploration upside within the company’s Northern Cape tenements, combined with the large, advanced stage Prieska project, positions the company for rapid growth.


During Orion’s first phase of ground electromagnetic and follow up drilling on the Kantienpan prospect during 2016, the company demonstrated the potential for success of the application of modern EM as a key tool for targeting VMS mineralisation.

Modern EM methods have advanced a great deal since the last systematic exploration took place in the Northern Cape belt and Orion stands to benefit from its research and development of exploration techniques applicable for massive sulfides undertaken in the Fraser Range belt in Western Australia during 2013 - 2014.

Orion’s exploration work at the Prieska project and records of past production confirm that the Prieska VMS deposit is an exceptionally large VMS body. Elsewhere in the world, this style of deposit is characterised by clusters of sulfide lenses called VMS districts. Deposit models for VMS districts support the view that where one large deposit is identified in a mineral district such as the Prieska deposit, other large VMS deposits should be found the same district.

Orion has contracted SkyTEM, a leading airborne electromagnetic survey company which offers state-of-the-art helicopter borne transient electromagnetic and magnetic acquisition system, to fly an extensive (6025 line km) TEM survey covering large portions of the company’s Masiqhame and Disawell JV project areas located in the Northern Cape.

The helicopter TEM survey will be flown with the highly innovative SkyTEM312 high power technology for deep target imaging. This high-power system, with a peak moment up to 1 000 000 NIA, is optimised to provide an exceptional depth of investigation due to the high moment mode with high current and low base frequency of 12.5 Hz. The data collected from the survey will contribute to the company’s exploration success. The survey is scheduled to commence on 26 November 2017.

Orion’s Managing Director and CEO, Errol Smart, commented: "Orion has a rare opportunity to enhance the value of its Northern Cape projects by simultaneously progressing advanced and early stage projects. The company’s primary focus is to continue resource delineation drilling at the advanced Prieska project followed by drill testing of known nearby mineralisation. In addition, we have decided to undertake target generation activity to identity high priority drill targets for follow-up, with the objective of new discoveries becoming satellite operations to a potential Prieska project production centre at Copperton.”

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African mining news