Africa|Construction|Copper|Design|Engineering|Exploration|Export|flotation|Industrial|Mineral Processing|Mining|PROJECT|Resources|Surface|Underground|Operations
Africa|Construction|Copper|Design|Engineering|Exploration|Export|flotation|Industrial|Mineral Processing|Mining|PROJECT|Resources|Surface|Underground|Operations

Okiep copper project, South Africa – update

Image of Okiep mine entrance

Photo by Orion Minerals

1st September 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Okiep copper project (OCP).

Northern Cape, South Africa.

Project Owner/s
New Okiep Mining Company, comprising Orion Minerals (56.25%) and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (43.75%).

Project Description
A scoping study completed in May 2021 has proposed a proof-of-concept-scale copper mining operation at the brownfield OCP, and has confirmed that the project’s deposits have the potential to be mined at low cost using openpit and underground mining methods.

The outcome of the scoping study, based on five initial deposits, supports the economic merit of developing a foundation-phase mining operation, while Orion conducts the required work and engineering studies to evaluate the potential to re-establish mining operations.

The life-of-mine for the proof-of-concept foundation phase is modelled for 12 years, during which concurrent exploration and mine expansion scenarios will be planned and potentially implemented.

The proposed foundation-scale mining operations could run at a design processing plant throughput of 780 000 t/y, resulting in 9 000 t/y of copper sold in marketable concentrates. This could potentially supplement the 23 000 t/y of copper production planned from Orion’s flagship Prieska copper/zinc project.

Underground and surface mining methods will be used in conjunction with mineral processing using conventional froth-flotation concentration to produce the copper concentrates for export.

The proof-of-concept phase of the proposed operation targets the development of only those Okiep copper deposits for which Orion has verified and reported mineral resources during the early phase of the due diligence period. The milled production target comprises measured mineral resources of 33%, indicated mineral resources of 46% and inferred mineral resources of 21%.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value, at a 10% discount rate, of R1.9-billion and an internal rate of return of 44%, with a payback from first production of 3.25 years.

Capital Expenditure
Peak funding is estimated at R643-million.

Planned Start/End Date
First production is possible within 16 months from the start of construction.

Latest Developments
Orion Minerals has reported an increase in the mineral resource estimates for three deposits that form part of the OCP, following a detailed review of the geology and remodelling of the deposits.

A review of the geological interpretation at Flat Mine North, Flat Mine East and Flat Mine South has resulted in improved definition of the mineralised zones, together with an increase in the total mineral resources.

Mineral resources at the three deposits now total 9.3-million tonnes at 1.3% copper for 130 000 t of contained copper including a measured and indicated resource of 7.4-million tonnes at 1.4% copper.

In addition to the previously announced mineral resource of 2.5-million tonnes at 1.4% copper at Flat Mine (Nababeep), Jan Coetzee mine and Nababeep Kloof mine, this brings the total mineral resources within the Flat Mines area of the OCP to 12-million tonnes at 1.4% copper for 160 000 t of contained copper.

Other historical mines and prospects are being modelled, with the potential to deliver further growth in the OCP mineral resource.

“This is a very positive result which has now been incorporated in the bankable feasibility study (BFS) for the OCP,” MD and CEO Errol Smart has said.

Orion has now concluded the main body of work for the BFS and is handing the study to the independent technical expert appointed by the debt adviser for the project on behalf of the IDC and debt financiers who have expressed an interest in funding the project.

The BFS outcomes will be released to the market once the independent technical assessment has been completed.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
ALS Chemex (core sample analysis).

Contact Details for Project Information
Orion Minerals, tel +27 11 880 3159 or email


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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