Orion Finds Funding to Develop Prieska

Chris Orion signed agreements with subsidiaries of Triple Flag Precious Metals Corp. for a significant funding package to advance the Prieska copper-zinc mine. The funding package comprises an $80 million precious metal stream plus an additional $7 million funding arrangement to underpin Orion’s early production strategy and underground mine dewatering. The precious metal stream would be advanced against the delivery of 84% of future gold and silver by-product production, with each stream rate reducing to 50% after certain milestones. Orion will also receive payments of 10% of the delivered precious metal value at spot gold and silver prices at the time of delivery.

The $7 million draw-down is conditional on Orion securing an additional $15 million funding to initiate the mine dewatering project and early mining activity, as well as South African regulatory approvals. Triple Flag confirmed that Orion’s draw-down of an Industrial Development Corp. of South Africa Ltd. (IDC) convertible loan would be sufficient.

“This funding, provided by Triple Flag together with the IDC, is pivotal for Orion as we transition from being an exploration company to a mine developer,” Orion’s Managing Director and CEO, Errol Smart said. “Our new operations team at Prieska has already made huge progress in preparing Prieska for development. This includes establishing underground dams and pump stations and preparing development at the +105 trial mining area to allow for the safe commencement of drilling and blasting. We look forward to seeing the first ore on surface and water out of the mine early in the New Year.”

The trial mining of high-grade remnant ore in the upper levels of the mine is key to Orion completing a revised feasibility study by mid-2023, Smart explained, which would pave the way for an early start-up of production and cashflow while the mine is dewatered over a 3-year period. It would provide Orion with a staged pathway to steadily rampup production to 2.4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) with ore sourced from the dewatered Prieska Deeps area.

“The execution of definitive agreements with Orion marks an important milestone towards returning the Prieska mine to production in a historically prolific copper mining district,” Triple Flag’s CEO, Shaun Usmar said. “This agreement demonstrates a commitment to our mission to be a preferred funding partner to mining companies throughout the commodity cycle by providing customized streaming and royalty fi- nancing solutions.

“The $7 million provided under the funding arrangement in exchange for payments equal to 0.8% of gross revenue provides Triple Flag with immediate exposure to Prieska while the early mining feasibility study is being finalized and dewatering is commenced,” Usmar said. “Upon delivering an executable mine plan, the $80 million precious metals stream will form a key part of a fully funded financing package that will enable the development of Prieska, benefiting the South African economy and local stakeholders through investment and much-needed job creation. The low-carbon footprint of the planned operations, as well as the resource potential in a highly prospective district, provides Triple Flag with longterm, sustainable optionality.”

The Triple Flag Funding Arrangement is expected to be available for drawdown in January 2023.

As featured in Womp 2023 Vol 01 - www.womp-int.com