Orion Minerals has submitted an application via its subsidiary Repli Trading No 27 (Repli) for a mining right for the Prieska zinc-copper project in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
The mining right application covers a total of 723ha of executed prospecting rights on the project.
It is supported by a comprehensive environmental authorisation application and a provisional mining works programme.
Orion Minerals managing director and CEO Errol Smart said: “The application for the mining right marks an important milestone for Orion.
“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.”
The application includes provisions for possible toll treatment and / or joint operations with surrounding future mining right holders.
Orion Minerals is currently exploring the possibility of both open pit and underground mining operations under the mining works programme, as well as the use of a froth flotation metallurgical process to produce separate high-quality zinc and copper concentrates.
The company has also established a maiden mineral resource of 5.2 million tonnes (Mt) for the Vardocube prospecting right within the Prieska project.
The development has seen the combined total mineral resource for the Prieska site increase to 29.4Mt, containing 1.13Mt of zinc at 3.8% zinc and 365,000t of copper at 1.2% copper.
Smart added: “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.”