Orion makes advances in acquiring control of Okiep copper project

Orion MD and CEO Errol Smart

Orion MD and CEO Errol Smart

17th April 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Australia-headquartered Orion Minerals has made progress with acquiring a controlling interest in the Okiep copper project, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.

Orion and other relevant parties, barring the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), which is still in the process of finalising internal approval, have signed addenda to amend the agreements that will affect Orion’s controlling interest in the project.

Orion in 2021 exercised an option to directly acquire the mineral rights, mineral data, rehabilitation guarantees, any contracts and any other assets held by Southern African Tantalum Mining, Nababeep Copper Company and Bulletrap Copper related to Okiep, rather than acquiring shares in the entities themselves.

The sale assets will be acquired by two Orion subsidiaries – New Okiep Exploration Company, which is wholly owned by Orion, and New Okiep Mining Company (NOM), which is currently 56%-owned by Orion and 43%-owned by the IDC.

Considering that each entity has different shareholders, the transactions are split up into three separate transactions.

A remaining purchase consideration of R59-million, or A$4.8-million, remains payable by Orion. The first phase settlement, comprising R10-million in cash and R35-million in Orion shares, will be completed immediately following approval by certain South African authorities.

Orion MD and CEO Errol Smart says he is pleased to have finally received confirmation that the majority of the outstanding conditions have been fulfilled for the company’s acquisition of the Okiep mineral rights since the deal started in 2021.

“While we have been able to continue operating on the properties and progressing the project, we have now moved to finalise the Flat Mines bankability feasibility study (BFS) on the NOM mining right,” Smart states, adding that the company awaits approval of a water-use licence before the project is fully permitted.

Additionally, the company awaits results of confirmation drilling and metallurgical testwork that are currently under way and which are expected to be concluded by June. This testwork will help inform the BFS.

Once the IDC has obtained its required internal approvals and signed the addenda relating to the sale assets held by the aforementioned entities, Orion can submit the final application for regulatory approval in respect of the first phase of transactions.

The Okiep project comprises the core of a premier historical copper district that produced more than two-million tonnes of copper over a 150-year period ended in 2003.

Okiep currently has a mineral resource of 12-million tonnes grading 1.4% copper for 159 000 t of contained copper. The resource estimate covers an initial six deposits and is based on a detailed review of historical drill data and subsequent geological modelling.

Orion sees potential for further expansion of the resource through its own exploration, since only mineral resources from the Flat Mines area of the greater Okiep copper complex are incorporated in Orion’s foundation-phase plan.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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