Australian exploration firm Orion Minerals has commenced near-mine exploration at the Prieska zinc-copper project in the Northern Cape, South Africa.

The company’s mineral resource drill-out programme at the project is nearing completion.

“Prieska is one of the largest known VMS deposits and the surrounding area has not benefitted from any modern exploration for more than 35 years.”

As part of the near-mine exploration, Orion began data assimilation and interpretation, mapping and ground electromagnetic (EM) surveys.

An early priority target was identified at the Annex copper deposit.

Located 270km south-west of Kimberley, the project has historic production of more than 430,000t of copper and more than one million tonnes of zinc.

Orion aims to update the project’s mineral resource estimate, including upgrade in resource categories in the fourth quarter of this year.

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By GlobalData

Eight diamond drill rigs remain deployed at the project site to carry out infill drilling to increase sample density in the deep sulphide mineral resource.

The drill-out programme continued to return high-grade results at the deep sulphide target of the Prieska project.

Since May last year, Orion has completed 94 intersections, including 39 mother holes and 55 deflections, on the deep sulphide target.

Orion Minerals managing director and CEO Errol Smart said: “With us now nearing the completion of the Prieska Deeps drill-out, having drilled over 83,000m in 15 months, we are very pleased to move onto the exploration for satellite deposits to the exceptional Prieska volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit.

“These large VMS bodies are known for their propensity of occurring in clusters. Prieska is one of the largest known VMS deposits and the surrounding area has not benefitted from any modern exploration for more than 35 years.”

The company will complete an estimated 2,498m of diamond drilling before updating the deep sulphide mineral resource estimate.

Drilling is anticipated to be concluded mid-October this year.