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Orion Minerals in deal to develop battery product refining facility in NCape

ORION’S managing director and chief executive, Errol Smart, said: “We are thrilled to have secured exclusive access to what we believe could be game-changing refining technology for the production of battery metal salts and fine carbonyl powders.

ORION’S managing director and chief executive, Errol Smart, said: “We are thrilled to have secured exclusive access to what we believe could be game-changing refining technology for the production of battery metal salts and fine carbonyl powders.

Published May 10, 2022

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ORION Minerals, the junior ASX and JSE-listed copper producer, yesterday signed an exclusivity agreement with Stratega Metals for the development of a specialist battery product refining facility in the Northern Cape.

The term sheet signed with Stratega Metals would provide a binding exclusivity agreement for amenability test-work on samples of nickel-copper-cobalt-gold-platinum group element (PGE) concentrates from Orion’s Jacomynspan Nickel-PGE Project in the province.

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According to the mining firm, the term sheet provides it with the exclusive right to enter into an earn-in agreement to obtain a 75 percent interest in Stratega by funding the construction of a demonstration-scale refinery.

"Stratega holds an exclusive licensing agreement to use TCM Research’s suite of proprietary vapour metallurgical technologies, including advanced carbonylation and chlorination techniques, for base metal refining in the Northern Cape," Orion said.

The company said the value-added metal products, including Carbonyl Nickel Powders, produced by the TCM process, commonly referred to as “battery precursor products”, could trade at a considerable premium to spot metal prices.

Orion’s managing director and chief executive, Errol Smart, said: “We are thrilled to have secured exclusive access to what we believe could be game-changing refining technology for the production of battery metal salts and fine carbonyl powders, both of which are experiencing surging demand within the burgeoning battery manufacturing sector. The battery materials sector is a key focus for Orion due to its strong growth outlook and its pivotal role in driving reduced global carbon emissions.

“Not only is the Stratega/TCM refining process able to produce premium metal products, but the process also has a low environmental impact and is well-suited for the use of clean, renewable energy. The process comprises a chemical vapour technology that does not consume any water, has low energy consumption, produces close to zero emissions and occupies a very small surface area," he said.

Smart said these characteristics made it an ideal fit with Orion’s ambitions to become a fully-integrated mining and processing business that produces premium metal products with strong ESG credentials that were certified from point-of-source to market.

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The company also announced that it also entered into non-binding term sheets in respect of an $87 million (R1.1 billion) funding package with Canadian streaming and royalty finance company, Triple Flag Precious Metals, to advance the development of the Prieska Copper-Zinc Mine.

The funding package comprised an $80m precious metal stream plus an additional A$10m ($7m) funding arrangement to underpin early production strategy and underground mine dewatering.

The non-binding term sheets had been signed and were now being advanced under exclusivity to definitive agreements, expected during quarter three, 2022, Orion said.

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Smart said: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved this significant milestone for the funding of the Prieska Copper-Zinc Project.

“We have developed a strong working relationship with the Triple Flag team, and have been particularly impressed by their technical mining expertise and incisive questioning, as well as their diligent assessment of Orion’s ESG commitment and their own alignment with our ESG goals," Smart said.

[email protected]

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