HomeBattery metalsOrion’s Okiep Scoping Study supports merit for foundation phase mining

Orion’s Okiep Scoping Study supports merit for foundation phase mining

Orion Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO, Errol Smart, commented:

“The outcome of the Scoping Study 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 with outputs as were previously sustained for decades by previous owners.

“Newmont managed to produce 30,000 – 40,000 tonnes per annum of copper.

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“Most importantly, we now have a benchmark for determining the potential economic merit of the twenty-five targets prioritised by Orion, which have historical mineral resources in place that were not mined.

“Thus far we have successfully verified and reported JORC 2012 Mineral Resources for an initial six deposits, with this Study now providing guidance for the targeted cut-off grades for open pit and underground mining that are required for these deposits to be of economic merit.”

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“While the five deposits included in the foundation phase Scoping Study have a significantly lower grade than the historical average mining grade of 1.7% copper maintained in the district by previous owners (and which Orion is targeting for ongoing exploration), the lower-grade remnant mineralisation presents a very attractive early production opportunity.

“Given the current strong copper market conditions and the potential for further price escalation given very firm global demand fundamentals, we believe the potential for early profitable production from a small-scale foundation phase is very encouraging – particularly given the Scoping Study assumes a conservative copper price of US$7,600 per tonne compared to recent prices of over US$10,000/tonne.

“In addition, the presence of a highly regarded partner such as the Industrial Development Corporation, which currently holds 43.8% of SAFTA and shares Orion’s values of sustainable mining development and high ESG standards, is also a very important consideration for this potential investment.

“Whilst the 25 targets previously drilled and evaluated by Goldfields are the focus for our resource estimation and engineering evaluation team, our exploration geological team members are identifying high quality drill targets, where they believe modern geophysical methods have potential to catalyse the discovery of high tonnage, high grade mineralisation as previously mined in the district.

“The exploration team is also progressing plans to fly the first ever high power, high resolution electromagnetic survey flown over this district, expanding our targets beyond historic discoveries.

“Based on the strength of the Scoping Study results, we’re now pressing ahead to complete final due diligence programs at the Okiep Copper Project, with a final decision on the project acquisition to be made by 31 July 2021.”