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Jacomynspan Nickel-Copper-PGE Project (South Africa)

Jacomynspan Nickel-Copper-PGE Project (South Africa)

 

The Jacomynspan Project area contains numerous known occurrences of VHMS style zinc-copper deposits and is highly prospective for magmatic hosted nickel-copper mineralisation similar to that seen in Proterozoic mobile belts worldwide including the Thompsons Belt in Canada and the Albany-Fraser Belt in Western Australia. A number of mafic-ultramafic intrusions have been recognised within the project area, with most historical work focusing on the Jacomynspan Deposit (Figure 1). The Jacomynspan Project area is contiguous with the prospecting rights held under the Company’s Masiqhame transaction and adjacent to the Marydale Prospecting Right (Figure 1).

Orion believes a substantial exploration opportunity exists within the project area to search for higher grade, massive and semi-massive accumulations of nickel-bearing sulphides, analogous to the Nova-Bollinger deposit in the Fraser Range Province of Western Australia.

Orion has identified many similarities to the Fraser Range-style of mineralisation from historical data available for the project area and the surrounding Areachap belt. Orion will be utilising its experience and expertise developed in exploring for magmatic nickel-copper deposit in the Fraser Range Province of Western Australia to reinterpret the extensive database for the Jacomynspan Project area and rank the exploration targets. These will then be followed up with modern high-powered geophysical tools and methods which have not previously been applied in the Areachap belt before drill testing.

Background

The Jacomynspan Deposit was first identified by Anglo American Prospecting Services (AAPS) from an airborne electro-magnetic (EM) survey in 1971. AAPS drilled a steeply dipping mafic-ultramafic intrusive sill over 4km of strike, defining an ultramafic host with disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation over a width of 30 - 70m. AAPS also drilled to a depth of about 900m in one area covering approximately 1000m of strike.

Metallurgical test work and mining studies were also undertaken on the deposit, culminating in an economic assessment in 1983 which was generally positive and recommended that more detailed studies be undertaken. However, prevailing macro-economic and geopolitical conditions were not favourable and the option was relinquished by AAPS in 1984.

The surrounding area received exploration attention from a number of large companies in the 1970’s with groups such as Phelps Dodge, Anglovaal, Newmont and Goldfields of South Africa all completing investigations, with several nickel-copper bearing intrusive occurrences discovered over a combined trend extending for almost 40km.

In 2006, the project area was pegged by Namaqua. Exploration activities completed since then have included airborne EM and high-resolution magnetic surveys as well as more than 26,000m of diamond core drilling in 53 holes (Figure 1).

Based on this work and historical AAPS data, a resource was delineated for the Jacomynspan Deposit. The resource for the Jacomyspan Deposit as shown in Table 1 is estimated in accordance with the SAMREC Code (2007) and is therefore a “qualifying foreign resource estimate” as defined in the ASX Listing Rules. Extensive metallurgical test work, geotechnical appraisal, environmental studies and mine design work was also carried out by Namaqua to complete a concept study and economic assessment for the mining of the deposit. These appraisals support an application for a Mining Right over the area, which is currently in process.

Figure 1 below shows historical drilling on the Jacomynspan resource area, while the existing resource is summarised in Table 1. More detail, including significant intersections and additional figures can be found in the ASX announcement of 14 July 2016.

 

Category Tonnes Ni Cu Co Pt Pd Au
  (Millions) % % % g/t g/t g/t
Indicated 42.6 0.26 0.18 0.02 0.09 0.05 0.04
Inferred 35.5 0.27 0.18 0.02 0.10 0.06 0.04
Total 78.1 0.26 0.18 0.02 0.10 0.05 0.04

                                            Table 1: Resources at the Jacomynspan Deposit.

Table 1 Notes: While this foreign resource is not reported in compliance with the JORC Code, it is the Company’s opinion (and the opinion of the Competent Person for), that the data quality and validation criteria, as well as the resource methodology and check procedures, are reliable and consistent with criteria as defined by JORC 2012. All tabulated data has been rounded to one decimal place for tonnage and two decimal places for grades. Quantities are reported after the application of 5% geological loss factor and all resources are greater than 75m and less than 900m below surface.

 

 

Figure 1: Plan showing drilling in the Jacomynspan resource area.

 

Exploration Potential

Importantly, while numerous mafic-ultramafic targets stretching along a trend of approximately 40km have been interpreted from historical mapping, geophysics and geochemical surveys, Namaqua drilled out only a 1.2km section of strike. This was confined to in-fill drilling on an outcropping ultramafic sill which was discovered and previously drilled by AAPS.

Orion believes a substantial exploration opportunity exists within the project area to search for higher grade, massive and semi-massive accumulations of nickel-bearing sulphides, analogous to the Nova-Bollinger deposit in the Fraser Range Province of Western Australia.

Orion has identified many similarities to the Fraser Range-style of mineralisation from historical data available for the project area and the surrounding Areachap belt. This includes:

  • mafic-ultramafic intrusives of late Proterozoic age;
  • intruded in intercratonic/craton margin tectonic setting;
  • hosted in high metamorphic grade rocks (garnet, amphibolite gneisses) within a mobile belt;
  • the presence of evolving magmas yielding multi-phase intrusives, including mafic to ultramafic rocks. Importantly, lithologies observed at the Jacomynspan Project  include anorthosites, hartzburgites and various metamorphic equivalents;
  • the identification of nickel and copper-bearing sulphides with minor cobalt and PGE’s (higher concentrations than in Fraser Range) at numerous localities;
  • low-grade, disseminated nickel-copper sulphide bodies are re-intruded by cumulate textured mafics, with net textured and sometimes massive sulphides present; and
  • shallow, recent cover sequences (calcrete and soil) obscures much of the surface expression on the belt.

While Namaqua did not do any follow-up exploration on satellite intrusive bodies and geophysical targets, the entire Jacomynspan Project area was covered by airborne EM and magnetic surveys. The high resolution airborne magnetic survey targeted the distinct magnetic fingerprint of hartzburgites within, and extending from, the drilled resource area and produced a high quality target map that was never followed up on (Figure 3). Within the resource area, the harzburgite units are noted to contain higher concentration of metals.

Importantly, there are occurrences of known nickel-copper bearing intrusives that have not been adequately drill tested, or indeed drill tested at all. None of the identified bodies have been closed off on strike and the dip extent and 3D geometry has not been established. The target bodies are intruded into a fold and thrust belt and the Company believes that favourable geometries with flat-dipping basal contacts are likely to be developed. Feeder zones and large bodies transgressing stratigraphy are considered higher quality targets.

Orion has identified several high quality targets from available data with all the key exploration indicators that justify further investigation as priority targets. Areas of combined VHMS and Nickel-Copper intrusive potential are of particular interest.

The later mafic intrusives have intruded through and been emplaced in VHMS prospective horizons and may have sourced additional sulphur from those lithologies triggering deposition of immiscible metal sulphides from the intrusive melt.

                  Figure 2: High-resolution aeromagnetic survey data with hartzburgite targets and historical drilling.

 

Orion will be utilising its experience and expertise developed in exploring for magmatic nickel-copper deposit in the Fraser Range Province of Western Australia to reinterpret the extensive database for the Jacomynspan Project area and rank the exploration targets. These will then be followed up with modern high-powered geophysical tools and methods which have not previously been applied in the Areachap belt before drill testing.

An example of one such target is the “AAPS Area 4” Prospect (Figure 4), located about 3,000m north-east of the drilled resource area, on a satellite intrusive body. AAPS followed up on the mapping of gossan fragments in calcrete cover with shallow RAB drilling and later diamond drill-hole JAC007, which intersected sulphide mineralisation over 62.5m grading 0.26% Nickel, 0.17% Copper and 0.018% Cobalt (Appendix 1).

Reports by AAPS stated that layering was observed in the geological and geochemical data, indicating the potential for magmatic processes to enrich nickel grades within this intrusive. A review of the later Namaqua Nickel airborne EM data shows that the drill-hole is located on an anomaly that can be picked from that data, validating this targeting method. The harzburgite host is also identified by the high resolution magnetics. No further work has been completed at this occurrence since it was identified and drilled by AAPS in 1977.

The airborne EM and magnetic survey data have also identified numerous stratigraphic (VHMS) targets, which have not been tested. These anomalies follow the trend of the VHMS horizon extending onto the neighbouring Orion-Masiqhame prospecting right (refer ASX Releases 29 April 2016 and 31 May 2016).

 

 

Figure 3: Late time constant (Tau) data from the Namaqua – Disawell SPECTREM airborne EM survey showing the high resolution magnetic survey area including the Jacomynspan Mineral Resource and hartzburgite hosted Nickel-Copper targets.

Commercial Terms

Earn-In Right - Jacomynspan Nickel-Copper-PGE Project (South Africa)

The Company holds a binding term sheet to acquire the earn-in rights over the Jacomynspan Project from two companies, Namaqua and Disawell, which hold partly overlapping prospecting rights and mining right applications.

The earn-in right is via a South African-registered special-purpose vehicle (SPV), which will be established by Orion for investment in the joint ventures and of which historically-disadvantaged South African (HDSA) shall hold a minimum of 26% of the issued shares.

Orion SPV has the exclusive opportunity to earn up to an 80% interest (Orion 59.2%) in the Companies through expenditure of US$2 million over a 3 year period, completing a feasibility study and securing project finance.  The initial 25% interest can be earned through expenditure of US$0.5 million over 12 months, commencing any time prior to 9 January 2017.