Mineral explorer Noronex has kicked off a six-hole program at the company’s Snowball copper joint venture in Namibia’s highly prospective Kalahari copper belt. Its drill targets were modelled from the largest deposits in the Kalahari and Central African copper belts with the rig now passing over virgin territory in a hunt for new and significant discoveries.
The six holes will probe about 1200m into its Erfenis prospect, testing a prospective contact between oxidised sandstone and reducing siltstone horizons.
Importantly, the contact hosts known mineralisation further west along the belt at Noronex’s Fiesta project — also in Namibia — and the large Zone 5 deposit in Botswana owned by private capital firm Cupric Canyon.
The Kalahari copper belt spans about 1000km from central Namibia to the north-west of neighbouring Botswana through the Kalahari Desert and is notched with a high calibre of copper explorers and producers.
Including the Snowball joint venture, Noronex owns a suite of copper projects within the belt sandwiched between the notable players Rio Tinto and Sandfire Resources.
Despite the belt’s emergence as a copper-producing district, the Snowball lease has never been tested due to a blanket of Kalahari sands up to 80m thick covering the region and hindering traditional geological and geochemical exploration.
Armed with an armada of modern techniques and experience, Noronex has used a series of ground magnetic profiles to guide the design and direction of its drill holes.
In September last year, Noronex entered into the Snowball joint venture having the capacity to earn up to an 80 per cent stake and with an option to acquire the lot.
The acquisition was an expansion of its footprint in the belt and a move to secure potential mineralised extensions of the company’s neighbouring Witvlei project to the west.
Just last week the explorer wrapped up a 13-hole program at Witvlei, following up impressive drill results including a 27m intersection going 1.6 per cent copper containing a higher-grade interval of 10m at 2.5 per cent.
With the same drill rig used at Witvlei now passing over Snowball, it will be interesting to see if Noronex can pull out some more copper from beneath the Kalahari cover.
Whilst the price of copper has tumbled by more than a quarter since June, a recent report by market intelligence group S&P Global concluded a massive new supply of the malleable metal will need to come online promptly to meet the net-zero by 2050 targets.
The report projects copper demand to grow from 25 million tonnes in 2021 to about 50Mt by 2035. It is forecast the chronic supply gap will begin in the middle of the current decade and have serious consequences across the global economy whilst hamstringing the journey to net zero.
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