Orion (ASX:ORN) opens Okiep with more high-grade Northern Cape copper

Orion (ASX:ORN) opens Okiep with more high-grade Northern Cape copper

July 9, 2024 Off By Jack Baker

Orion Minerals’ first diamond holes into Flat Mine South have returned topflight copper intercepts from the discovery marked as key for a production restart at its Okiep project in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

A headlining 20.50 metre at 4.99 per cent copper strike came within 43.00m at 3.41% Cu and off the back of a record intercept to the east in April which saw an Orion share price surge.

Around 105 million tonnes of copper had been mined from the district over the past century, and while work through the 1980’s and 1990’s by Newmont and Goldfields of South Africa got similar hits, a low copper price restrained development.

But ascendant demand and falling grades across major operations now has the red metal trading at robust and likely enduring demand, leading Orion to the operation in hopes of more high-grade hits and a restart.

Its intercepts to date have backed the geological and grade distribution used for resource modelling and estimation at Okiep, continuing through the current campaign within an executed mining right.

Orion Managing Director and Chief Executive Errol Smart said after confirming high-grade potential at Flat Mine East over the past month, the first assays from about 3km southwest delivered more outstanding intercepts.

“These results show that the Flat Mines complex contains very high-grade copper sulphide mineralisation contained within wider zones of moderate grade intrusive,” he said.

“We are encouraged by the potential to rapidly add high-grade tonnes from near-surface bodies such as at Flat Mine Nababeep, and also down-dip and along trend of the blocks being included in the current mine plan.”

Smart added an initial bankable feasibility study nearing completion focusing on immediately available JORC estimates neared completion, but the potential to expand scale and mine life was the true core of its investment.

“Our aspirational target is to restore our Okiep properties to their historic production levels of 20,000 – 50,000 tonnes of copper production per annum, which previous owners maintained for over five decades. Our ongoing drilling results underscore this potential,” he said.

The Orion rigs are now continuing to test a down-dip extension of high-grade mineralisation in a previously untested area while beginning new work at Nababeep and its 1Mt at 1.4% Cu inferred resource.

After the program wraps, detailed geological assessment will be done on all intersections and interpretations of envelopes will be followed by an update of the project’s resource estimate.

Confirmatory metallurgy will also be undertaken, and Orion believes the significant widths of waste granitic material in the reported intersections provide the opportunity for upgrading the material through modern ore sorting.

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