Orion Minerals consolidates its Northern Cape copper mines with new assets

Orion Minerals consolidates its Northern Cape copper mines with new assets

First production is expected within 16 months of the start of construction. Image: iStock

  • Orion Minerals has added new copper assets to complement its flagship Prieska Copper-Zinc Project development.
  • The deal is worth R76.5 million, with 18.4 million settled in cash and R58.1 million paid in ordinary shares.
  • First production is expected within 16 months of the start of construction.

Orion Minerals has added new copper assets to complement its flagship Prieska Copper-Zinc Project development, in a move that would not only revive the historic Okiep copper sites but also boost the company’s base metal production.

The company said on Monday the Okiep Copper Project was 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, located 450km east of the Okiep project.

The deal is worth R76.5 million, with R18.4 million settled in cash and R58.1 million paid in ordinary shares.

The assets include the acquisition of the mineral rights and other assets held by Southern African Tantalum Mining, Nababeep Copper Company and Bulletrap Copper and Orion says the consolidation provides a compelling near-term production opportunity for  South Africa’s Northern Cape region.

The entities hold the majority of the large, historical mines in this significant copper-producing district, which has produced more than two million tons of copper metal over a 150-year period to 2003. The mineral rights include numerous existing drilled copper ore bodies with decline mine access and services in place.

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Orion chief executive Errol Smart said the area had delivered “significant historical copper production” – with previous owners, such as Newmont and Gold Fields, producing 30 000 to 40 000 tons of copper metal per annum over many decades.

“We believe there is a compelling opportunity to reestablish this scale of production following the completion of further drilling and feasibility work.”

According to Smart, first production was expected within 16 months of the start of construction and potential exists for significant operational synergies between the OCP and Orion’s fully permitted Prieska Copper-Zinc Project, where Orion is in advanced project funding discussions.

“Our objective is for future production from OCP, to supplement Prieska’s forecast production of 22 kilotons per annum of copper and 70 kilotons per annum of zinc, transforming Orion into a substantial base metal mining house with two operating hubs in Tier-1 mining districts in the Northern Cape,” said Smart.

Minerals