Home News Orion stocks surge after high-grade copper discovery in N Cape

Orion stocks surge after high-grade copper discovery in N Cape

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Orion Minerals has struck high-grade copper at its Okiep project in the Northern Cape, marking a key milestone as the company pushes for production from the former Gold Fields-owned asset.

Orion Minerals’ Okiep Copper Project is located in the Northern Cape, approximately 450km west of the company’s flagship Prieska Copper Zinc Project. Picture: Orion Minerals

ORION Minerals has struck high-grade copper grades at its Okiep project in the Northern Cape, marking a key milestone as the company pushes for production from the former Gold Fields-owned asset.

Last week, Orion applied for a suspension in trade in the company’s shares on the JSE ahead of the announcement of the results.

Shares in the company leaped 31.58% on the JSE on Monday to trade at R0.25 after the announcement of the discovery of the high-grade copper mineralisation from Okiep.

It reported that “outstanding initial results from diamond drilling at Flat Mine East, part of the Okiep Copper Project” had brought results indicating high-grade copper deposits.

“This is the highest-grade drill intercept ever reported at Flat Mines and confirms the high-grade copper intercepts returned from drilling completed in 1995 by the previous owners, Gold Fields,” the company said.

Orion added that the Flat Mine East wing of Okiep will form a key part of Orion’s early production plan for the project.

It described the “wide, high-grade massive sulphide zone” of the deposit at Okiep as being within a larger intrusive body that hosts lower grade disseminated sulphide mineralisation.

“The intersections achieved to date support geological and grade distribution interpretations and were taken into account for the mineral resource modelling and estimation,” Orion said.

A further 11 diamond drill holes totalling 5,800m are now planned at Flat Mine East, Flat Mine South and Flat Mine North to confirm the historical drilling results and to provide geotechnical information.

Orion’s managing director and CEO, Errol Smart, said data from this round of drilling will also generate material for additional confirmatory metallurgical test works.

“This standout intercept is one of the highest-grade intercepts reported in South Africa for the past 40 years,” Smart said.

“Our Okiep Mine is reported to have milled 907,000 tonnes grading 21% copper from hand-sorted ore.”

Smart explained that previous owners of the asset, Newmont and Goldfields, had intersected strong copper mineralisation across numerous ore bodies using scout drilling but had never completed drilling out the discoveries due to low copper prices at the time.

As a result of this, further exploration could not be undertaken.

With the fresh findings, a big opportunity has now been created for Orion to further invest into the asset as the discovery lies in a district that produced over two million tonnes of contained copper metal historically.

“The Okiep region, which has lain dormant for decades, is now undergoing a major revitalisation with the application of modern exploration and mining technologies,” Smart said.

Orion announced last week that it was moving to complete the acquisition of the mineral rights at Okiep.

Smart said the company was “itching to get drills turning to demonstrate the untapped potential of the district” as it gears to bring the project into operation.

The drilling activity that confirmed the high copper grade deposits at Okiep had been undertaken at the request of Orion’s debt finance adviser’s independent technical expert.

It was also the last stage before finalisation of the bankable feasibility study for the project.

Orion is confident that it will move towards early production from Prieska Copper Zinc Mine, its other South African project, as financing and strategic partner engagements have already been secured.

– BUSINESS REPORT

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