Okiep copper project, South Africa – update

4th June 2021 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Okiep copper project, South Africa – update

Name of the Project
Okiep copper project (OCP).

Northern Cape, South Africa.

Project Owner/s
Orion Minerals.

Orion signed an option in February 2021 to acquire a 56.25% interest in Southern African Tantalum Mining (Safta), which owns the Okiep copper complex, for A$7.5-million of initial purchase consideration, and a further A$8.5-million of additional consideration, subject to future exploration success.

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

The study has been completed as part of Orion’s due diligence programme under an option agreement to acquire the Okiep project.

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 9 011 t/y of copper sold in marketable concentrates. This could potentially supplement the 22 000 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 by conventional froth-flotation concentration to produce the copper concentrates for export.

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

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

Latest Developments
Orion Minerals has identified new high-priority drill targets on the Carolusberg- Koperberg complex that form part of the OCP.

The Carolusberg-Koperberg line was first discovered in 1680 and subsequent workings have been intermittently mined from 1850 to 2001.

Newmont and subsequently Gold Fields, previous owners of OCP, undertook extensive drilling and geological mapping during their tenure.

Paper records of the exploration have now been digitised and are being modelled by Orion.

Orion’s geological team at OCP continue to unpack huge value from the historical data that it has secured.

Using modern three-dimensional Geographic Information System modelling, has enabled the company to get a better understanding of the geological controls that assist in identifying high-priority targets for drill testing, Orion MD and CEO Errol Smart has explained.

Orion has shown that the high-quality data allows for fast-tracking the re-estimation of resources using historical drill data, with a mineral resource of 11.5-million tonnes at 1.4% copper reported in accordance with Joint Ore Reserves Committee 2012 compliance.

This resource was confirmed within three months of securing options on the mineral rights and the historic data.

The attention at OCP is now turning to identifying high-quality targets for undiscovered high-grade deposits such as those historically discovered in the Okiep district, including the Okiep mine and at Nababeeb South.

Orion is focusing on similar geological settings to that of Okiep and Nababeeb South and have identified high-priority targets to be tested on the BCC property, which is currently under option to Orion.

“These high-grade deposits are usually found in pipes or blows and have very small dimensions of 150 m to 250 m diameter and were easily missed by historic wide-spaced drilling,” Smart says

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

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