Home » Orion Minerals Nears Completion of Key Phase in Okiep Copper Project Acquisition

Orion Minerals Nears Completion of Key Phase in Okiep Copper Project Acquisition

Orion's strategic acquisition positions it closer to becoming a leader in global base metals production.

by Adenike Adeodun

Orion Minerals is getting close to completing a significant phase in its plan to become a leading international base metals producer with the acquisition of a controlling stake in the Okiep Copper Project. The project is situated approximately 570 km north of Cape Town, South Africa, and this strategic move is a significant step in Orion’s expansion strategy.

On April 17, 2024, Orion made a formal announcement confirming significant progress towards finalizing the deal. The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), a crucial financial backer of the Okiep Copper Project (OCP), has granted its internal approvals and endorsed the addenda to the agreements. This allows Orion to secure the controlling stake in the OCP. Additionally, all supplementary conditions, including necessary endorsements from the Foreign Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank and the South African Takeover Regulation Panel, have been met, making the transaction agreements unconditional.

The initial phase of this acquisition is expected to conclude by May 7, 2024, with Orion set to make a payment of approximately ZAR46 million (around A$3.8 million), comprising ZAR11 million in cash and the remainder through the issuance of fully paid ordinary shares. Following this, Orion will seek shareholder approval at a General Meeting scheduled for May 23, 2024, to ratify this share issuance among other agenda items.

Orion’s engagement in the OCP doesn’t stop with acquisition; the IDC has also approved funding of ZAR43.75 million (approximately A$3.6 million) for its share of drilling and operational expenses for the New Okiep Mining Flat Mines Project. A rigorous diamond drilling program, which began in February 2024, is underway at this site. The program aims to verify historical drilling data, gather geotechnical information, and procure additional drill cores for confirmatory metallurgical testing.

The drilling initiative at Flat Mine includes eleven diamond core drill holes distributed across Flat Mine East (FME), Flat Mine South (FMS), and Flat Mine North (FMN), covering a total of 5,800 meters. Each location has specific drilling targets designed to maximize data collection, with FME hosting five holes, FMS four, and FMN two. Each hole includes a deflection through the mineralization to enhance the metallurgical testing process.

The first assay results from this ongoing drill campaign were publicized on April 22, 2024. Notably, drill hole OFMED153 at FME yielded a high-quality copper intercept of 49.00m at 4.89% Cu, including a segment of 10.23m at an impressive 12.47% Cu. Additional assay results are anticipated throughout May, with the feasibility study for the Flat Mines expected to be finalized by July 2024.

Errol Smart, the Managing Director and CEO of Orion Minerals, expressed satisfaction with the progress towards securing the Okiep Copper Project. He highlighted the project’s potential to significantly contribute to Orion’s growth into a substantial mid-tier copper producer on the ASX/JSE. The Okiep district, historically a prolific copper-producing region under the stewardship of companies like Newmont and Goldfields, stands at the cusp of a resurgence. Orion’s extensive 641 km² mineral rights holdings in this district not only underline its strategic importance but also position Orion favorably to capitalize on the burgeoning global demand for copper, fueled by the electric vehicle boom and AI-driven industrial applications.

With the project’s advanced stage, ongoing drilling efforts, and an impending feasibility study, Orion Minerals is poised to generate substantial updates and maintain a robust news flow from the Okiep Copper Project in the near future. This development is expected to solidify Orion’s position in the mining sector and underscore its commitment to meeting the global copper demand surge.


Source: Mining Review

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