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Orion Minerals Opens Northern Cape Copper to Small Investors

New Initiative Allows Wider Participation in Local Mining Projects.

by Adenike Adeodun

A new collaboration between Johannesburg- and Sydney-listed Orion Minerals and Utshalo aims to make it easier for smaller South African investors to participate in local mining opportunities. This initiative targets raising funds for Orion’s Prieska Copper Zinc Mine and Okiep Copper Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape.

Orion Minerals, led by CEO Errol Smart, and Utshalo, headed by Paul Miller, are bringing an Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) style shareholder participation model to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Orion, listed on both the JSE and ASX, has over 22,000 South African shareholders. The new collaboration will allow these shareholders to participate in Orion’s latest share purchase plan (SPP) similarly to their Australian counterparts.

In South Africa, no equivalent to the SPP exists in public markets. This partnership, therefore, represents a significant shift towards inclusive investment opportunities. Miller, with his experience as a JSE sponsor executive, emphasized the need for South Africa to adopt more practices from successful markets like the ASX to rejuvenate its public markets.

Orion plans to raise capital by placing 513 million shares at A$0.015 per share with sophisticated and professional investors. In addition, eligible South African shareholders can subscribe to the SPP at R0.18 per share, ensuring they have the same opportunities as Australian investors. Utshalo’s online platform will facilitate this participation.

Utshalo, a division of Ince, operates as a juristic representative of InsuranceSupermarket Insurance Brokers, an authorized financial services provider. Although headquartered in Australia, Orion’s primary focus remains on advancing its South African portfolio. Boksburg-born geologist Errol Smart, who chairs the Junior Mining and Exploration Forum of Minerals Council South Africa, underscores this commitment.

South Africa faces a pressing need to reinvigorate its public markets. New mining capital raisings have been rare, and greater direct retail participation is essential. Utshalo recognizes the need to rebuild a direct relationship between non-institutional investors and growth-seeking companies.

This initiative could mark a turning point for South African public markets. By enabling smaller investors to participate in significant mining projects, the collaboration between Orion Minerals and Utshalo could set a precedent for future capital-raising efforts in the region. This approach aligns with the broader goal of making investment opportunities more accessible to all South Africans, not just institutional investors.

The success of this collaboration could encourage other listed companies to adopt similar practices, further enhancing the vibrancy and inclusivity of South Africa’s public markets. As Orion Minerals continues to develop its projects in the Northern Cape, the inclusion of smaller investors in the capital-raising process may serve as a model for other industries seeking to democratize investment opportunities.

Orion’s approach demonstrates a commitment to not only advancing its own projects but also contributing to the broader economic development of South Africa. By facilitating greater participation from local investors, Orion and Utshalo are fostering a more inclusive and dynamic investment environment.

The focus on regional projects like the Prieska Copper Zinc Mine and the Okiep Copper Project highlights the importance of local investment in driving economic growth. As these projects progress, the benefits of this collaborative approach are likely to become more apparent, potentially leading to increased investor confidence and participation.

This initiative’s success could pave the way for more innovative investment models in South Africa, further integrating the local and global investment landscapes. The collaboration between Orion Minerals and Utshalo represents a forward-thinking approach to capital-raising, emphasizing inclusivity and local engagement.


Source: Mining Weekly

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