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Haib copper’s rich history

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Haib copper’s rich history
Koryx Copper’s Haib project is located in the scenic and arid south of Namibia. Image credit: Kurt Cotoaga from Unsplash.

Haib copper’s rich history  

Koryx Copper’s Haib project in the arid south of Namibia is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week.

By Leon Louw owner of WhyAfrica and editor of the WhyAfrica magazine.  

Not only does drilling results from Koryx Copper’s Haib project in Namibia look encouraging but the history of mining and exploration in the area is fascinating.

The Haib copper deposit is in the arid south of Namibia close to the border with South Africa where the Orange River forms the border between the two countries.

Haib is located about 12 to 15km east of the B1 highway connecting South Africa and Namibia. The closest town and railway station is at Grunau, about 120km north on the main highway.

The history of mining in the area dates to the late 1800s when a small number of intrepid German prospectors stumbled upon what looked, to them, like copper containing surface rocks in the dry river-bed of the Volstruis River.

Subsequently small tonnages of high-grade copper carbonate ore were then mined by the Germans on the banks of the Volstruis River.

Deploying the drilling rigs

It is not far from the Volstruis River that Koryx recently deployed their modern-day drilling rigs in an area extensively explored after World War II.

Last week Koryx announced the fourth assay results from its current drilling program at Haib. According to Pierre Léveillé, President and CEO of Koryx Copper, the company’s latest four drill holes continue to confirm that the deposit can deliver high grades over substantial widths within the known historical resource.

Since the resumption of drilling in October 2023, 22 holes have been completed totaling 4,043 m. All 22 holes have been sampled and submitted for assaying with the results of nine holes (1,107 samples) received to date. A further five boreholes (1,000m) remain to be drilled from the current program.

At 1.8 billion years (Archean), the Haib Copper Deposit is one of the oldest deposits in the world. Over time, it has seen several transformations including shearing and faulting events that appear to have further concentrated Cu and Mo. A number of these mineralized structures have been identified in the Pit 1. The revised drilling program looks to close the sample spacing in the Pit 1 area and better delineate the extent and grades of these.

Haib copper’s rich history  

After World War II, the prospect was pegged as claims by prospector George Swanson who carried out small scale mining and tank leaching operations. Over 6,000 tons of hand sorted high-grade copper ore were sold to the O’okiep Copper Mines, across the border at Nababeep in South Africa, reportedly at grades of up to 18% Copper (Source: https://koryxcopper.com/).

In 1963 to 1964 Falconbridge completed a more detailed exploration programme looking at the higher-grade zones within the Haib deposit. They drilled some eleven diamond drillholes totalling 1,012 metres of drilling. The average grade of the drillhole intersections was given as 0.33% Cu.

According to Koryx’s records, King Resources of South Africa Pty Limited, then drilled the deposit in 1968 to 1969 to examine both lower and higher-grade sulphide zones, as well as the higher-grade oxide shear zones.

“King Resources of South Africa Pty Ltd conducted a diamond drilling programme of 21 holes totalling 3,485 metres,” sates the historic records that Koryx have obtained.

Rio Tinto in the mix     

During 1972 to 1975 Rio Tinto Zinc conducted the first extensive and systematic investigation of the Haib deposit. Geochemical and chip sampling surveys were conducted along with IP and Resistivity surveys.

They drilled one 120 diamond drillholes totalling 45,903 metres. The cores from this programme are still intact and stored in a core shed on site.

RTZ sampled by compositing half cores over two metre intervals and submitted these for determination of total copper and where appropriate, oxide copper (acid soluble copper).

Composite samples from each drillhole were also tested metallurgically to determine recoverable copper and were assayed for molybdenum, silver and gold indicating average contents of 25 g/t Mo, 0.01 g/t Au, and 0.9 g/t Ag. Tonnage and grade estimates at various cut-offs were made and a conceptual pit design was proposed.

Venmyn’s study encouraging

In November 1993 Rand Merchant Bank Ltd of South Africa acquired an option over the Haib property.

Venmyn Rand Pty Ltd produced a study of the project including compilation of all the available drillhole and assay records from previous investigations and set up a computerised drillhole database.

It was concluded that the increase in the copper price since the 1970’s, development of low cost / high tonnage mining systems and new and refined technologies such as bacterial leaching, solvent extraction and electro-winning combined to create a situation where development of the Haib deposit could represent an economic project; however, no further exploration work was done and work terminated in 1995 (Source: Koryx Copper’s historical records).

Joint Venture to drill  

In March 1995, Great Fitzroy Mines NL and RMB George Swanson signed a joint venture called Namibian Copper Joint Venture (NCJV).

From 1995 to 1999, NCJV drilled a 12 infill holes, five geotechnical investigation holes, completed 126 metres of excavation in an adit and two crosscuts for bulk sampling and metallurgical testing and carried out various test works including mining cost audits, bio-leaching studies, and milling and grinding studies.

NCJV ran into financial difficulties and work was stopped at the Haib deposit in early 1999.

Exclusive prospecting licence  

In 2004, Koryx Copper was granted the Exclusive Prospecting licence 3140 (EPL) over an area of 74,563.0 ha covering the deposit and a very large surrounding area. This was subsequently renewed in April 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 with the area reduced to 37,000ha after the 2007 renewal.

Source: The abovementioned information was obtained from Koryx Copper (https://koryxcopper.com/)

Haib copper’s rich history

Haib copper’s rich history
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Haib copper’s rich history  

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