Orion Minerals awarded more prospecting areas for its Okiep portfolio

4th September 2023 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Orion Minerals awarded more prospecting areas for its Okiep portfolio

Orion MD and CEO Errol Smart

ASX- and JSE-listed Orion Minerals has secured additional prospecting rights on its existing Okiep Copper project, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy had granted the addition of five new copper ore and tungsten ore areas to the existing tenement portfolio of Okiep, which allows Orion to increase its tenement holding west, south and east of the central Southern African Tantalum Mining right area by about 30 000 ha.

Once executed, the grant of these additional areas opens up a number of opportunities for Orion to explore for potential copper and associated minerals to supplement the Flat Mines project.

An independent expert review of the bankable feasibility study (BFS) for the Flat Mines project is currently under way. The Flat Mines mining right is held for copper and tungsten, but has not been granted for additional minerals – gold and silver.

The BFS includes plans to establish a new mill and tailings site.

Orion expects the BFS review finalisation to coincide with the granting of a water-use licence and environmental approval for a new tailings deposition facility.

Among the new areas included in the prospecting right is the Nigragroep mine, with historical production of seven-million tonnes grading 2% copper.

Orion MD and CEO Errol Smart comments that the company’s vision for the acquisition of mineral rights and the consolidation of the majority of the most prospective areas of the historic O’kiep Copper Company’s mineral holdings has taken a major step forward, with the recent granting of mineral rights, some of which have been under application for several years.

When Orion decided to invest in the Okiep Copper District in 2021, it recognised that the key driver for success in achieving future large-scale production would be to reconsolidate the fragmented mineral rights of the district.

“The ability to operate several individual mines within a 20 km radius under a central management hub brings economies of scale for operations and also lends flexibility with multiple production sites, each accessible through a well-established network of roads.

“As brownfield sites, they have the benefit of existing primary infrastructure and services including grid power, water and decline roadways to access the historically drilled mineralisation. The barriers for re-development are therefore substantially lowered,” Smart adds.