Orion Minerals Ltd. said it has taken another key step in its strategy to become a leading diversified international base metals producer as it reaches the final stages of its acquisition of a controlling interest in the Okiep copper project (OCP), located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.

The Industrial Development Corp. of South Africa Ltd (IDC), which is a strategic funding partner in the OCP, has now obtained its internal approvals and counter-signed the addenda to the agreements pursuant to which Orion will acquire the controlling interest in the OCP. All supplementary conditions to implement the first phase of the Okiep transaction have been fulfilled (including receipt of the relevant approvals from the Foreign Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank and the South African Takeover Regulation Panel). The Okiep transaction agreements (as amended) have accordingly become unconditional.

Orion anticipated completing the first phase of the Okiep transaction on or about May 7, 2024 with payment of ZAR46 million ($2.5 million), being ZAR11 million ($600,000) payable in cash and ZAR35 million ($1.9 million) settled by way of Orion issuing fully paid ordinary shares.

“We are very pleased to have reached the final stages in our acquisition of a controlling interest in the OCP, which is a high-quality asset that forms an integral part of Orion’s growth pathway to become a significant new mid-tier copper producer,” said Errol Smart, managing director and CEO, Orion Minerals. “Orion’s 641-km2 package of mineral rights holdings in the Okiep copper district represents a highly strategic asset, located in the heart of a rich historic mining camp that produced more than 2 million tons of contained copper under previous ownership including Newmont and Goldfields.

Orion will seek shareholder approval to issue the shares at its shareholders meeting, which will be held on May 23, 2024.

IDC approval has been received for ZAR43.75 million ($2.3 million) funding for its proportional share of drilling and operating costs for the New Okiep Mining Flat Mines Project.

A diamond-drilling program commenced in the Flat Mines area of the OCP in February 2024. A total of 11 diamond-core drill holes have been planned at Flat Mine East (FME), Flat Mine South (FMS) and Flat Mine North (FMN), comprising a total of 5,800 m.

The program has been designed to confirm historical drilling information and interpretations, and to provide additional drill core for metallurgical test work.

The planned program comprises five holes at FME, four holes at FMS and two holes at FMN. All holes include a deflection (or wedge) through the mineralization to provide the additional drill core for confirmatory metallurgical test work.

Orion said the completion of the Flat Mines Feasibility study is on schedule for completion in July 2024.