During the half-year, Orion Minerals continued to progress its portfolio of South African base metal projects, with the main focus being on optimisation works, final permitting, pre-development activities and funding discussions for its flagship Prieska Project, located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
This followed the completion of the Prieska Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) completed in June 2019 and the updated BFS completed in May 2020.
Subsequent to the end of the half year, Orion announced on 2 February 2021 that it had entered into an agreement giving it exclusive rights and a clear pathway to acquire and consolidate a significant interest in an extensive copper mining complex, the Okiep Copper Complex (OCC), located approximately 570km north of Cape Town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
This potentially significant growth opportunity could become a future second base metal production hub for Orion in the Northern Cape alongside the Prieska Project, which is located 450km east of OCC. The Company has also subsequently reported a maiden JORC compliant Mineral Resource for three deposits which form part of the OCC.
Further, Orion announced on 15 February 2021 that it had secured the right to acquire the freehold title to the partially furnished original O’Okiep Copper Mines head office and data archives housing detailed records of more than 60 years of high intensity and high-quality mining and exploration work undertaken across most of the Northern Cape region of South Africa.
The Option also includes the work undertaken by an Australian company to scan and digitise a significant proportion of the exploration and drilling records and produce preliminary digital models to evaluate selected targets.
The Option excludes some data covering approximately 30% of the area of the historic O’Okiep Copper Mines mining properties currently owned by third parties.
During the half year, the Company also progressed exploration activities at a number of near-mine and regional projects in the Areachap Province of the Northern Cape region, further strengthening the Company’s growth pipeline surrounding the Prieska Project.
In the Fraser Range Province in Western Australia, Orion’s joint venture partner, IGO Limited, continued air-core drilling of key nickel-copper targets, moving-loop electro-magnetic (EM) surveys and interpretation of a Passive Seismic survey. Preparations are continuing for drilling on key nickel-copper targets, with drilling scheduled to commence in Q4 FY2021.
The following financial information is provided by the company in its Interim Financial Report for the period ended 31 December 2020:
- Operating loss decreased by 102% to a profit of $0.1 million (31 Dec 2019: loss of $5.16 million).
- Basic earnings per share increased by $0.22 cents, up 110% (31 Dec 2019: loss of $0.20 cents).
- Headline earnings per share increased by $0.22 cents, up 110% (31 Dec 2019: loss of $0.20 cents).