HomeBase MetalsOrion to fast-track exploration and evaluation of Okiep copper district

Orion to fast-track exploration and evaluation of Okiep copper district

Orion Minerals has secured the right to acquire the freehold title to the partially furnished original O’Okiep Copper Mines head office and data archives.

They house detailed records of more than 60 years of high intensity and high-quality mining and exploration work undertaken across most of the Northern Cape region of South Africa.

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The proposed acquisition represents a significant step forward for Orion, positioning it to fast-track its evaluation, feasibility and exploration activities across the Okiep Copper Complex, located 570 km north of Cape Town, following the recently announced option agreement to consolidate dominant ownership of this Tier-1 copper mining province.

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The Option also includes the work undertaken by an Australian company to scan and digitise a significant proportion of the exploration and drilling records and produce preliminary digital models to evaluate selected targets.

The cost of acquisition of data relating to OCC, which amounts to half of the data acquisition price, is deductible from the OCC acquisition price announced on 2 February 2021.

The Option excludes some data covering approximately 30% of the area of the historic O’Okiep Copper Mines mining properties currently owned by third parties.

Orion’s Managing Director and CEO, Errol Smart, comments:

“The OCC transaction is continuing to deliver in spades for Orion and provide us with new and exciting opportunities to fast-track our evaluation of this premier global copper district.

“The acquisition of this incredible dataset comprising more than 150,000 hard copy records and including drilling and sampling of more than 26,000 drill holes is a remarkable coup for the Company.

“With a replacement value of hundreds of millions of Rand and encompassing more than 60 years of intensive work by top explorationists and geologists of the time, this acquisition is a tremendous step forward for Orion.

“While the OCC Vendors did have some access to review the historical data, the lack of direct ownership of the data and the ability to use digitised data and to access drilling databases suitable for use with modern software modelling packages limited their ability to extract meaningful value from the historic reports.

This was a significant impediment to attracting investment by the OCC Vendors.

“As a result of this deal, we now have immediate access and use of all of the data, which will allow a giant step forward with our due diligence investigations over the next six months.

“Significantly, the data, which was not available to Orion previously, also adds value to Orion’s existing Mineral Rights in the Northern Cape, as it includes important information on the Prieska Copper-Zinc Mine and other prospects where we are currently drilling.

“As any geologist will tell you, data is key – and this is one of the largest and highest quality datasets that I have seen in my career, illuminating some of the best exploration and development opportunities that I have ever seen anywhere in the world.

“Alongside the data, we are also acquiring the original O’Okiep Copper Mines head office, which is functionally furnished with drawing, survey, geology and engineering offices that previously supported a team of 250 staff.

“Several accommodation units are also included in the Option to purchase, allowing our team to move on site and get to work immediately without any logistical challenges.

“It’s worth remembering that the O’Okiep Copper Company under Newmont and later Goldfields was one of the largest base metal mining companies in South Africa for many decades, during a time when South Africa was a major base metal producer.

“The quality of the office, and the database, duly reflects this.”