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Okiep copper project, South Africa – update

Image of Okiep copper project

2nd September 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Okiep copper project (OCP).

Location
Northern Cape, South Africa.

Project Owner/s
Orion Minerals.

In July 2021, Orion exercised its exclusive option to acquire a controlling interest in several of the properties comprising the OCP.

Orion has also applied for additional prospecting rights to supplement the OCP mineral rights. The mineral rights are intended to be held by two newly formed Orion companies – New Okiep Exploration Company (initially 100% Orion) and the New Okiep Mining Company (initially 56.3% Orion and 43.7% Industrial Development Corporation, or IDC). Both companies will, in future, include empowerment partners in compliance with Mining Charter 2018.

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 been granted a mining right for the Flat Mines area of its Okiep project.

The grant of a mining right by the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy marks a major milestone in the development of the project, and allows for confirmation drilling and metallurgical sampling, which is required for bankable feasibility work.

Meanwhile, the bankable feasibility study on the granted mining right area is at an advanced stage, and can now be completed with access to the property for bulk sampling and final confirmation drilling purposes.

The mining right is valid for an initial 15-year period and could be renewed on application for a further period not exceeding 30 years.

Feasibility studies to upgrade the scoping study for the project are due in early 2023. 

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

Contact Details for Project Information
Orion Minerals, tel  +27 11 880 3159 or email info@orionminerals.com.au.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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