Orion Minerals has taken another key step in its strategy to become a leading diversified international base metals producer after exercising its exclusive option to acquire a controlling interest in the majority of the properties comprising the Okiep Copper Project (OCP), located approximately 570km north of Cape Town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
In addition to the OCP Option acquisition Orion has also applied for additional Prospecting Rights to supplement the OCP mineral rights.
The mineral rights holding of OCP are intended to be held by two newly formed Orion companies, namely the New Okiep Exploration Company (initially 100% Orion) and the New Okiep Mining Co (initially 56.3% Orion: 43:7% Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)). Both of these entities will in future include empowerment partners in compliance with Mining Charter 2018.
In parallel, the Company has also exercised its option to acquire the database owned by the O’Okiep Copper Company (and its affiliates), including all historical mining and exploration records for the OCP covering more than 60 years of production history.
The OCP is a significant growth opportunity as it could become a second base metal production hub for Orion in the Northern Cape alongside its flagship Prieska Copper-Zinc Project (Prieska Project), located 450km east of the OCP.
The OCP Option has been restructured since the initial OCP Option Agreement was announced on 2 February 2021, with Orion now directly acquiring the assets held by Southern African Tantalum Mining (Pty) Ltd (SAFTA), Nababeep Copper Company (Pty) Ltd (NCC) and Bulletrap Copper Co (Pty) Ltd (BCC), rather than the entities themselves.
These entities hold the majority of the large, historical mines in this significant copper-producing district, which has produced more than 2Mt of copper metal over a 150-year period to 2003. The mineral rights include numerous existing drilled copper orebodies with decline mine access and services in place.
Since signing the OCP Option Agreement, Orion has undertaken extensive due diligence work at the OCP, including the completion of JORC compliant Mineral Resource Estimates for an initial six deposits totalling 11.5 million tonnes grading 1.4% copper for 159,000 tonnes of contained copper.
In addition, the Company also completed a positive Scoping Study (refer ASX / JSE release 3 May 2021), which demonstrated the economic merit of developing a foundation phase mining operation at the OCP while Orion conducts the required work and engineering studies to support its aspiration for achieving a larger mining operation with production at a similar scale to past owners Newmont and Goldfields who produced 30,000 – 40,000 tonnes per annum of copper.