Australian base metals explorer, Orion Minerals has announced their first assay results from the underground drilling testing at its Prieska Zinc-Copper Project in South Africa.

“The underground drill assays on the +105 Level Target open pit have confirmed the presence of high grade supergene mineralisation,” the company said in a statement. “Further excellent results have been received from the surface drilling testing on the Deep Sulphide Target, both validating and extending the historically modelled mineralisation.”

According to the company, the underground drill program is intended to build on the open pit drill program, which previously highlighted the potential for a high grade open pit project to commence the restart of Prieska, parallel with the development of the larger Deep Sulphide Target.

Errol Smart, Managing Director, Orion said, “We are encouraged by both the drilling results and the indications from downhole electromagnetic surveying. The holes within the historically drilled area are being modelled by mine geologists and are providing strong validation for the historic results and modelling.

“This, together with strong progress from engineering, environmental studies and the social and labour plan bodes well for the outcome of the BFS (bankable feasibility stud) currently underway.

“Furthermore, the drilling testing strike and dip extensions are providing encouragement for extensions of wide high-grade mineralisation and consequently, presents an opportunity to further strengthen the Prieska Project.”

Deep Sulphide Target drill holes and results received

The primary focus of drilling on the Deep Sulphide Target is to confirm and in-fill historical drilling results. In addition, holes will also test extensions of mineralisation outside areas with historic drilling or with incomplete data available.

“Since the commencement of the drilling program in June 2017, Orion has drilled a total of 18,212m, including pre-collar holes on the Deep Sulphide Target,” said Smart.

Drilling of the Deep Sulphide Target will further extend and validate the mineralisation along strike continues with nine diamond core drill holes currently in progress and two more set to commence drilling shortly. The results from drilling continue to report associated gold and silver mineralisation.

Previous owners did not routinely analyse for precious metals and the company will be undertaking metallurgical test work to confirm that gold and silver can be economically extracted and potentially provide additional by-product credits to the concentrate produced.