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Orion Minerals identifies new VMS style targets at world-class South African zinc-copper project

A helicopter-borne magnetic and electromagnetic survey has identified strong targets for follow-up exploration and drilling.
Overview of Prieska
Prieska is 270 kilometres southwest of Kimberley in South Africa's Northern Cape province

Orion Minerals Ltd (ASX:ORN) has identified a number of targets for VMS-style zinc-copper mineralisation and nickel-copper mineralisation within a 15-kilometre radius of the world-class Prieska VMS deposit in South Africa.

A helicopter-borne magnetic and electromagnetic survey was completed over the Repli, Vardocube and Bartotrax prospecting rights, which form part of the Prieska project in December 2018.

Orion has also received final models for down-hole time domain electromagnetic surveys targeting possible extensions of the deep sulphide mineral resource from Perth-based consultants South Geoscience.

READ: Orion Minerals retains speculative buy recommendation from Euroz Securities

Orion managing director and CEO Errol Smart said: “These are significant results as they show we are well and truly on track to unlock the broader potential of the Prieska project.

“VMS deposits generally occur in clusters in close proximity to one large or giant deposit, and often comprise two or three medium-sized deposits and five or six smaller deposits.

“Despite Prieska being one of the single largest volcanogenic massive sulphide exhalate bodies known in the world, the area around the deposit has had virtually no exploration in over 36 years.

“Now, with the application of advanced, modern geophysics and the latest geological thinking we can vector into targets which offer outstanding opportunities for new VMS discoveries.”

READ: Orion Minerals backed for on-time BFS delivery for zinc-copper project by June quarter

The SkyTEM survey covered 146.78 kilometres over the Repli, Vardocube and Bartotrax prospecting areas with high-power technology for deep target imaging.

The primary VMS target comprised pyrite, with minor pyhrrotite, sphalerite and chalcopyrite and is unlikely to yield strongly conductive bodies.

Based on the known mineral occurrences, the AEM anomalies are classed as VMS or magmatic nickel-copper targets which occur along a north to northwest trending structure visible on the newly acquired magnetic data.

Integrated analysis of the newly obtained aero-magnetic, AEM and geological data is therefore essential to generate priority drill targets.

READ: Orion Minerals appoints financial advisor to develop funding strategy for Prieska Project

Smart added: “We now have an impressive pipeline of near-mine exploration opportunities which we intend to pursue in parallel with our development strategy, which is based on the recently released scoping study and upcoming bankable feasibility study.

“Its rare for a junior like Orion to have both a minimum 10-year production and cash flow project supported by an updated mineral resource of 30.5 million tonnes at 3.7% zinc and 1.2% copper and a multitude of exploration targets with strong potential to grow our production profile and mine-life.

“The recognition of additional geophysical targets associated with known nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation in close proximity to the proposed Prieska mine operations is also encouraging and supports our modelling of the Areachap Belt as a close analogue to the Fraser Range Belt in Western Australia – with the potential for multiple base metal deposits.”

Orion plans to rank and prioritise the AEM anomalies with the use of geological data supported by field mapping and geochemistry to confirm the geological setting and plans to follow up selected anomalies with ground electromagnetic survey before diamond drilling. 

- Jessica Cummins

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