Orion is on track to become a new-generation Australian-South African mining company focused on the development of our portfolio of advanced green metals projects in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.
This includes its 70%-owned development-ready and fully-permitted Prieska Copper-Zinc Project (Prieska Project) and the Okiep Copper Project (consolidated 56% – 100% ownership), an advanced, district-scale project which is rapidly emerging as our second base metals production hub in the same region. This area of South Africa has delivered significant historical copper production over many decades.
The Prieska Project is the centrepiece of Orion’s asset portfolio. Located 270km south-west of the regional capital Kimberley, Prieska sits in the heart of a world-class mining district with access to significant local and regional infrastructure.
Orion completed an updated BFS in May 2020. The updated BFS delivered a substantial increase in forecast production, cash-flow and mine life for the Prieska Project compared with the previous study completed in June 2019. The key outcomes of the updated BFS include:
- Initial 12-year, 2.4Mtpa operation, targeting 22ktpa copper and 70ktpa zinc;
- Life-of-mine production 226kt copper and 680kt zinc;
- Strong operating margins and financials;
- Pre-tax free cash flow AUD1.6 billion (post-tax AUD1.2 billion);
- Pre-tax NPV8% AUD779 million (post-tax AUD552 million);
- Payback period of 2.4 years from first production;
- All-in sustaining margin of 47%; and
- Peak Funding requirement AUD413 million.
During the year, Orion focused its activities on bringing the Prieska Project into production, following the completion of the positive updated BFS. A number of significant pre-development work streams were progressed during the year in order to advance the Prieska Project towards a Final Investment Decision.
The proposed foundation-scale mining operations could run for 12 years at a design processing plant throughput of 0.76Mtpa, resulting in 9ktpa of copper sold in marketable concentrates. Both underground and surface mining methods would be used in conjunction with mineral processing using conventional froth-flotation concentration to produce the copper concentrates for export.
On 16 September 2021, Orion announced that its development strategy for the OCP had received a significant boost after the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited (IDC) signalled its intention to become a key strategic partner in the OCP’s future development.
As part of this, it is envisaged that the IDC will be a strategic shareholder in the New Okiep Mining Company (Pty) Ltd (New Okiep Mining Co). This newly-created Orion subsidiary will hold the Southern African Tantalum Mining (Pty) Ltd (one of the entities subject to Orion’s
original option agreement over the OCP announced in February 2021) assets and be responsible for advancing its development as a potential second base metals production hub for the Company in the Northern Cape region. The shareholding in New Okiep Mining Co will in the future, include empowerment partners in compliance with the requirements of the Mining Charter 2018.