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Orion Minerals Secures Key Lands for Northern Cape Copper Project

Property Acquisitions Clear Path for Development of South Africa’s Flat Mines

by Adenike Adeodun

Orion Minerals has taken a significant step forward in the revival of copper mining in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. The Johannesburg- and Sydney-listed company recently acquired new surface right access and property, paving the way for the advancement of its Flat Mines Project. This development comes as Orion carries out a bankable feasibility study (BFS) for the project.

According to a report by Mining Weekly, Errol Smart, the Boksburg-born CEO of Orion, hailed this progress as a crucial milestone for the New Okiep Mining Project. The agreement to access and acquire Mora Plase surface ownership rights to Farm Nababeep and Farm Plaatjesfontein, which overlay most of the Flat Mines area, is particularly significant. These properties are located where Orion’s subsidiary, New Okiep Mining, holds a mining right and prospecting right applications for the Okiep Copper Project.

Orion’s broader strategy targets diversified base metal production through the development of both the Okiep Copper Project and the Prieska Copper-Zinc Project in the Northern Cape. Historically, the region has been a prolific copper producer, with the Okiep district alone accounting for over two million tonnes of copper over 150 years, ending in 2003. Prieska adds to this legacy with considerable historical copper and zinc production.

The new property acquisition allows Orion immediate access to undertake drilling programs essential for confirming the metallurgical zonation and geotechnical assessments of the Flat Mines deposits. These activities are expected to enhance the outcomes of the BFS. Additionally, ownership of the surface area will enable Orion to optimize community agriculture and the development of solar and wind plants for future mining operations and surrounding communities.

The acquisition also resolves potential conflicts of interest in future surface use, aiding in the completion of outstanding environmental authorizations, water-use license, and rezoning applications.

Smart highlighted the importance of this development, noting that while primary access to the deposits is on municipal land, supporting infrastructure like roads, power transmission, and water supply pipelines will be located within the newly acquired area.

Orion has already mobilized drill rigs for a 3,000-meter twin-hole drilling program over the Flat Mines East and North deposits. This program, aimed at conducting geotechnical and metallurgical test work, is expected to be completed in the current quarter. The results will be incorporated into an optimized BFS, with an external review and release scheduled for the following quarter.

The acquisition overcomes previous challenges due to a lack of surface access, which prevented validation drilling. Historical drilling records by Newmont and Gold Fields, validated by twin drilling by previous owners, had been the primary data source until now. Fresh drill core access is anticipated to enhance data quality significantly.

In addition to addressing environmental and water rights permitting, Orion’s recent progress offers the potential to increase the scale of mine production and extend the life of mine, thanks to the wealth of mineralized bodies in the region.

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