South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has indicated its intention to partner with JSE- and ASX-listed Orion Minerals on the development of the Okiep copper project, in the Northern Cape.
As it stands, the IDC is a 43.75% shareholder in Southern African Tantalum Mining (Safta) – one of the entities subject to Orion’s original option agreement over the project and an original vendor of the project.
However, Orion is in the process of exercising its restructured option to acquire a controlling interest in the majority of properties that make up the Okiep project and it has, therefore, expressed glee that the IDC will stay on as a partner.
Orion says the IDC’s input will help support and de-risk the project for future funding propositions.
With the IDC currently being a 43.75% shareholder in Safta, one of the suspensive conditions to the transaction was that the IDC was required to approve the Safta shareholder resolution regarding the deal, as well as become a party to the relevant transaction agreements relating to it.
“The IDC's decision means that the New Okiep Mining Company, the new holding company of mineral rights over the Safta tenements, will initially be held 56.3% by Orion and 43.7% by the IDC, de-risking the project's future development pathway and strengthening potential future funding opportunities,” the company explains.
New Okiep will remain a subsidiary of Orion and will, in future, include empowerment partners.
Meanwhile, Orion continues progressing due diligence work at the project.
By September, the company successfully completed a SkyTEM electromagnetic geophysical survey at the project, with initial results having confirmed new targets for follow-up exploration.
Orion plans to upgrade the Okiep scoping study to a feasibility study by early 2022.