Orion Minerals said that it has successfully completed the infill and extension drilling program at its Prieska Zinc-Copper Project. File Image: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - Australian mining company Orion Minerals said on Monday that it has successfully completed the infill and extension drilling program at its Prieska Zinc-Copper Project located in the Areachap Belt in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.

Orion has drilled 85 424 metres since May 2017 after acquiring the mine which was deemed uneconomic, with up to 18 surface diamond drill rigs.

The infill drilling program was primarily designed to increase sample density for the Deep Sulphide Mineral Resource, with the objective of upgrading the inferred resource as the foundation for the ongoing bankable feasibility study due for completion early next year.

The company undertook two major phases of drilling at the Prieska Project targeting near surface mineralisation expected to be amenable to open pit mining and the deep sulphide target below the historical mine, which is expected to form the cornerstone of the company's development strategy.

Errol Smart, Orion's managing director and chief executive, said the completion of this major drilling program was a huge achievement and a really important milestone for Orion on the mine's journey to becoming a substantial new base metal producer in South Africa.

"The program, which has at times involved up to 18 surface rigs working around the clock over the past 18 months, has been a huge endeavour,"  Smart said.

"I am very proud of the professional and efficient manner in which our exceptional geological team and contractors have executed the drilling program while maintaining an outstanding safety and environmental performance throughout."

Smart said the updated resource was now scheduled for mid-December 2018 and the BFS was on track for release in the second quarter of 2019.

"Importantly, the drilling has also identified very promising possible extensions to the current resource which will be drill tested in coming months to continue probing areas with potential to expand the resource while we complete the BFS," Smart said.

The  Prieska Zinc-Copper Project has access to significant local and regional infrastructure, with mine infrastructure including a regional power grid feed, bitumen access roads, access to a bulk, treated water supply and a 1 900 metre landing strip. 

- African News Agency (ANA)