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Orpheus Energy kicks off drilling targeting up to 40Mt limestone at Ashford


Recently listed Orpheus Energy (ASX: OEG) has commenced diamond drilling at its high value end use ground calcium carbonate (GCC) prospect at Ashford in New South Wales.

The company is targeting 30-40 million tonnes of GCC grade limestone (with target white rating index of 89-91%) and is aiming to establish a high grade calcium carbonate JORC Resource at the project.

The nine hole program represents the first drilling of one of the company’s Australian projects, and begins less than six months after first listing on the ASX on August 17.

The project area is on two contiguous properties located about 20 kilometres north of the town of Ashford in the central far north of NSW, on the western edge of the New England area.

Orpheus acquired the Ashford Limestone Deposit from Coalworks Limited (ASX: CWK). The strong market for GCC expanded from around 56 million tonnes in 2004 to almost 72 million in 2007, an average annual growth rate of nearly 9%.

According to Roskill, the world demand for GCC is forecast to continue to grow at an average annual growth rate of 4% to 2012, to reach 87.4 million tonnes. 

Previous exploration at the project in the 1980’s showed a high purity, or very white, calcium carbonate zone in a regional limestone outcrop.

Coalworks followed this up in 2008 by conducting a 12 vertical percussion shallow drill hole program to a depth of 20 metres to test the western side of the limestone body.

Analysis results showed the presence of a very high purity and brightness zone within the limestone of 81-90% ISO, high enough to qualify as a high grade ground calcium carbonate product suitable for use as fillers in paper, paint and cosmetics.

The target Brisbane/South East Queensland market for these products is estimated at over 500,000 tonnes per annum. In addition, any mine reject material can be used in agricultural and industrial uses.

The company expects that this drilling program will be completed by the end of 2011 and results of core analysis by the end of the first quarter 2012.  Product research has been carried out and marketing will commence on the receipt of analysis results.

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