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Noronex to extend footprint over Kalahari Copper Belt

Updated: Apr 16

Kalahari Desert sands and baobab trees at the picturesque lands where Noronex is searching for copper. Credit: File

Noronex is seeking to extend its Kalahari Copper Belt footprint after lodging two new full permit applications over 1650 square kilometres of prospective ground at the eastern extremity of its granted and fully-owned Humpback project area in Namibia.

The applications are adjacent to the Namibia-Botswana border and the southern boundary of Humpback and will bring the company’s exploration portfolio area in Namibia to about 8700sq km, including about 3500sq km of permits under application.

Noronex’s growing portfolio embraces the highly-prospective, but relatively underexplored, transnational Kalahari Copper Belt, which runs north-east from central Namibia to north-eastern Botswana.

Most significantly, it takes in a massive 300km strike of the sheared contact between the Ngwana Pan Formation and the overlying Lower D’Kar Formation (the NPF-D’Kar contact) that has long been recognised as a key contact zone hosting copper and silver mineralisation throughout the Kalahari Copper Belt.

The application area has been explored previously, most recently by Kopore Metals and Sandfire Resources. The companies drilled several holes and flew airborne magnetic and electromagnetic (EM) surveys, while other prior exploration was also undertaken by EISEB Exploration and Mining in a joint venture with Cupric Canyon and Antofagasta.

About 50 holes were drilled by past explorers within the new application area. Between 2012 and 2013, exploration by EISEB defined several regional targets, which it tested by reverse-circulation (RC) and diamond drilling.

EISEB drilled 32 holes in the application area and hit encouraging copper intercepts along the key NPF-D’Kar contact, including separate sections in four holes of 11m at 0.54 per cent copper from 152m, 2m at 0.84 per cent from 180m, 5.4m at 0.59 per cent from 219m and 8.7m at 0.41 per cent from 275m. It further confirmed that the NPF-D’Kar contact prospectivity was developed on or associated with known and partly-mapped antiformal or domal structures.

The new permit applications come hard on the heels of Noronex’s recent contract signing to kick off its maiden 4000m RC drilling program by the end of the month to test its copper-silver exploration targets at both its Blowhole and Fiesta prospects within Humpback.

Blowhole is about 10km north of the new ground and less than 10km west of the Botswana border. Aeromagnetic surveys confirm Blowhole’s direct strike continuity with the same sheared antiformal D’Kar-NPF contact that hosts mineralisation at Cobre’s Ngami and Thul prospects, which are less than 100km to the north-east. Cobre has reported several encouraging intersections from the site, including 10.7m at 1.3 per cent copper under shallow cover.

Noronex says it plans to drill five holes at Blowhole – the first ever put into the prospect.

Fiesta is about 130km south-west along strike from Blowhole and lies on the western closure of a domal structure on the prospective NPF-D’Kar contact. Anomalous drill intercepts at Fiesta have hallmarks of the deposits defined in Botswana over 400km to the east, including Cupric Canyon’s Zone 5 project which holds 167 million tonnes at 2 per cent copper.

Considering the likely two-year approval process, Noronex’s new applications seem well-timed strategically, with the Kalahari Copper Belt coming under increasing attention from explorers and good ground being rapidly snapped up.

Given the company’s recently-granted tenure and new application areas at Humpback, combined with ongoing exploration at its Witvlei copper project and the domal structure on its Snowball joint venture, there appears to be plenty of work to keep it occupied.

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