Dual-listed junior Orion Minerals has entered into an agreement to acquire the remaining minority interests in the Jacomynspan nickel-copper-PGE project in South Africa.

The minority interest in the Jacomynspan project (located 65 km north of its flagship Prieska copper-zinc project) is held by two companies, Namaqua Nickel Mining and Disawell.

As a result, Orion will become 70% owner with Orion’s BEE partners, staff and employee trusts to hold an aggregate 30% interest in compliance with Mining Charter III.

In September 2017, Orion entered into a binding earn-in agreement to acquire the earn-in rights over the Jacomynspan project held by Namaqua and Disawell. Orion’s earn-in is held via its wholly-owned subsidiary company, Areachap Investments 3 S.À R.L, and its South African subsidiary company, Area Metals Holdings No 3 (AMH3).

Since finalising the earn-in agreement, AMH3 has advanced exploration programmes on the Jacomynspan project, with expenditure held in a shareholder loan account and AMH3 having reached an earn-in right stage, which will see its shareholding increase by a further 25% interest (increasing its total interest to 50%) and, upon receipt of regulatory approval, AMH3 being issued with the additional shares earned. Orion is the manager and operator of the joint venture.

The purchase price payable by Orion to the selling shareholders for the sale equity will be a total amount of $0.75 million. The purchase price will be settled by way of Orion issuing its ordinary shares to each selling shareholder where:

The shares will be issued by Orion to the selling shareholders within 10 business days after the fulfilment date against the transfer of the sale equity to Orion.

“This is a well-timed deal that simplifies the ownership and management structure of the Jacomynspan project against the backdrop of surging global nickel, copper, PGE and zinc prices and a resurgence of global investor interest in exploration for these commodities,” says Orion Minerals MD and CEO Errol Smart.

“Through this transaction, we also welcome our Namaqua and Disawell joint venture partners as Orion shareholders, giving them exposure to our world-class exploration and development portfolio including the Prieska project, for which we recently published an updated BFS demonstrating a compelling investment case.

“The Areachap Belt in the Namaqualand region of the Northern Cape, where Orion holds over 3 200 km2 of prospecting and mining rights, is superbly placed to become the focus of base metal exploration in South Africa,” says Smart.

Jacomynspan project at a glance

The Jacomynspan project, located on the Namaqua and Disawell mining and prospecting rights, contains a significant intrusive-hosted, sulphide nickel-copper-PGE mineral resource. Importantly, the mineral resource remains open along strike and down-dip, presenting a compelling exploration opportunity.

Since commencing exploration on the joint venture in 2017, Orion has identified high priority targets for potential massive sulphide, base metal mineralisation. Orion has identified these massive sulphide targets as having potential to host both intrusive sulphide Ni-Cu-PGE and also volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) copper-zinc mineralisation, similar to Orion’s Prieska project.

Once field operations resume, Orion intends to drill test several geophysical targets with the potential to host concentrations of Type 2 sulphide mineralisation and potential large bodies of high tenor nickel.