Orion Minerals has received a notice of grant of a Mining Right in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act for the Vardocube extensions of its flagship Prieska Copper-Zinc Project in South Africa.
The Vardocube Mining Right covers 27% of the ore included in the updated BFS announced in May 2020 and, importantly, also covers highly prospective exploration upside in the near-mine area.
The Vardocube Mining Right supplements the Prieska Copper Zinc Mine Mining Right granted last year, that covers 73% of the bankable mine plan.
The Mining Right follows the grant of the Environmental Authorisation for the Vardocube Resource received in March 2020.
The two Mining Rights, together with the Water Use Licence granted on 6 August 2020, constitute the key approvals required to operate the Prieska Mine, with other important statutory requirements such as the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act rezoning for mining purposes and approval of the project’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Plan by the South African Astronomy Management Authority, which regulates all activities
within the Square Kilometre Array designated area, now also secured.
Orion’s MD and CEO, Errol Smart, comments:
“We are pleased that the final regulatory hurdle for the development of the Prieska Copper-Zinc Mine has now been fulfilled. Prieska is now positioned to play a major role in the post-COVID economic recovery of the Northern Cape region of South Africa with the development of a world-class base metals mining operation.
“In less than five years we have been able to locate, acquire, drill out, complete a high-quality Bankable Feasibility Study and fully permit a world-class modern mine, to international best practice standards.
“The project has already seen over R450 million in foreign direct investment to reach this stage and is now poised to bring in a further investment of over R5.4 billion over the next three years as we construct a mine projected to deliver more than R40 billion of mineral exports over an initial twelve year life.
“This is a clear demonstration of the potential of junior mining and exploration and the significant financial benefits that it can mobilise, when working with a supportive host community, strong BEE partners and proactive local and provincial government.
“We would also like to acknowledge the hard work that has been put in during the COVID-19 lockdown period by officials at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Department of Environment and the
Department of Water and Sanitation, who processed our applications under difficult operating circumstance during the past few months.
“The receipt of this final approval is a strong foundation for our ongoing discussions with potential financiers of the debt and equity components of the construction financing package and Orion Minerals look forward to being able to update our shareholders on progress over the next few months.”