SA Govt. awards EA for Vardocube extension of Orion’s Prieska Copper-Zinc Project

ORION Minerals has secured an environmental authorisation (EA) from the South African government for its Vardocube Resource which was “a significant milestone” in the development of its Prieska Copper-Zinc Project, the company said.

The Vardocube resource covers the south-eastern strike extension of the Prieska deposit and follows the grant in August 2019 of the EA and mining right to sister company Repli which covers the majority of the project’s mineral resource.

Orion Minerals published a bankable feasibility study (BFS) in June which it set down plans for a “foundation” 10-year production period in which some 189,000 tons of copper and 580,000 tons of zinc would be produced. Peak funding would be A$378m with a payback of just under three years and an all-in sustaining margin of 44%.

Orion Minerals said in January that it hoped to sell a stake in the project to a partner which was its preferred means of helping to finance part of the project. A decision on which partner it would choose would be made by the third quarter of this year.

Orion said previously it had also received several proposals for provision of mezzanine debt as well as equity investment at asset level from parties interested in securing future product off-take.

Commenting on the award of the EA for its Vardocube resource, Orion Minerals CEO, Errol Smart, said: “With the grant of the EA and Mining Right for the bulk of the Prieska Mineral Resource secured in August last year, the grant of the the Vardocube EA represents the final step towards securing the Mining Right covering the south-eastern extension of the deposit”.