Orion Minerals, a small-cap minerals explorer listed in Australia and on the JSE, said on Thursday it had started a partnering process that may see the introduction of a strategic equity partner in its flagship Prieska copper-zinc project.

Orion plans to build a new mine and processing plant at the Prieska mine, which is about 270km southwest of Kimberley and was operated by Anglovaal Mining for two decades up to 1991.

The company said on Thursday it had received expressions of interest from third parties regarding ownership in the project. A formal process had begun, with Orion targeting the completion of a transaction by the third quarter of 2020, though there was no certainty any transaction would be completed.

“We have already held discussions with a number of parties that could bring technical, financial, corporate and strategic expertise to the table,” said CEO Errol Smart.

“Given the size of the deposit, the scale of the development opportunity and the quality of the metal concentrates, Prieska is already attracting significant interest,” Smart said.

A bankable feasibility study released in June 2019 has shown the R4bn project will be paid back within three years from the start of production.

Orion’s share price was unchanged at 24c in morning trade on Thursday.


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