Case studies

Orion Minerals prepares Northern Cape communities for future mine employment

Orion Mineral’s commitment to the development of the Prieska Copper-Zinc Project goes beyond the revival of a mine. The company is passionate about reigniting the economy of the Northern Cape.

The company has engaged in intensive community relations during the past three years and has focused on equipping the community with training, education and readiness for the direct and indirect employment opportunities that are likely to arise as the mine is developed and ramped up.

This year Orion Minerals offered free introductory mining familiarisation short courses to community members within the Siyathemba Municipality. Running over three months in 2019, the company offered residents in Prieska, Marydale and Niekerkshoop who had completed their grade 12 the opportunity to attend a five-day course. The programme has successfully been completed by 290 participants and raised public awareness of the mining industry and the opportunities the industry creates.

Orion minerals mining [photo]
Orion minerals mining [photo] Orion minerals mining [photo] Orion minerals mining [photo]

Participants were provided with:

  • an overview of minerals mined in South Africa;
  • an insight into how mining operations are conducted;
  • an understanding of the career options available within the mining industry; and
  • visit the Prieska Zinc Copper Project, where they get to witness first-hand the early phases of a mine development project.

The training was facilitated by an accredited service provider, Mathome Training and Development (Pty) Ltd, and participants earned credits towards industry-recognised mining-related qualifications. The company received an estimated 400 applications for the training, and it will consider running a second round of training in the future. Assessments are also being carried out to identify candidates for further training.

This initiative is in line with Orion’s firm commitment to ensure that local communities benefit from its operations. The company’s recently completed Bankable Feasibility Study confirmed a long-life, high-margin base metal mine with strong economics and capital payback period of just under three years from first production.

Orion’s new generation base metals mine at Prieska will require a highly skilled workforce. The development of the Prieska Copper-Zinc Project is expected to help grow the economies of the towns in the Siyathemba Municipality. Not only does the operation aim to prioritise local employment wherever possible, its presence will encourage entrepreneurship and the establishment of mining-related businesses in the region.