Diversified explorer Golden Deeps (ASX: GED) is about to begin drilling at the Khusib Springs copper mine in Namibia, testing for higher grade copper mineralisation on the margins of the historic stopes.
The mine closed in 2003 due to low copper prices at the time, the red metal having fallen to around US$1,500 per tonne.
That is in stark contrast to the present where copper has gone through the US$9,000/t mark.
Copper’s price has accelerated of late amid warnings that a shortage is looming due to the lack of major discoveries at a time when increasing demand is being driven by the metal’s electrical conductivity properties.
Khusib Springs historically also produced silver at high grades.
The mine is one of three major projects being undertaken by Golden Deeps. Others include the advanced Abenab vanadium-lead zinc deposit (also in Namibia) and the Tuckers Hill and Havilah projects on the Lachlan Fold Belt in NSW.
Drilling also testing between old underground workings and surface
Drilling will begin in April with an 18-hole, 750m reverse circulation program, pending approval from landholders.
The program will also test for up-plunge extensions to the deposit that was mined from underground but not extended to surface.
Between 1996 and 2003, Khusib Springs produced 300,000t at 10% copper and 584g/t silver.
Historic intersections at Khusib Springs comprised 4.5m at 35.19% copper, 3.67% lead, 2.23% zinc and 2,090.91g/t silver, along with 14m at 8.12% copper, 0.75% lead, 0.52% zinc and 385.06g/t silver.
Study shows remaining copper-silver mineralisation
Khusib Springs is located near the town of Grootfontein in Namibia.
The mine’s closure in 2003 came with the falling copper price coinciding with the depletion of the easily mineable high-grade ore.
Golden Deeps says the Khusib Springs mine is considered analogous with the Tsumeb mine, which is 40km to the northwest.
Between 1905 and 1996 that mine produced 30Mt at 4.3% copper, 10% lead and 3.5% zinc.
Last year, Golden Deeps commissioned a geological study of Khusib Springs.
The consultants, after validating historic drilling data and examining mine and stoping plans, concluded that there are remnant zones of copper-silver mineralisation on the margins of the mined stopes as well as at depth.
The company believes that the remaining ore was probably left because of the then prevailing low copper prices.