Australian junior miner Orion Minerals received the AAMEG’s inaugural Emerging ESG Leader Award.

The winners of the AAMEG Africa Awards were announced by AAMEG (The Australian – Africa Minerals & Energy Group) at an awards ceremony at the Africa Down Under conference in Perth. The awards set the benchmark for Australian mining companies delivering projects that have sustainable and tangible benefits to the communities and countries in which they operate.

The Emerging ESG Leadership Award acknowledges Orion’s exemplary work in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) space, the relationships it has forged with its host communities and importantly, its contribution to socio-economic development in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.

“We hope to inspire a new generation of emerging mining companies. By turning the traditional mining approach to ESG on its head, we have shown the value of meaningful connections and insisting that ESG is a business and moral imperative,” said Orion Chairman Denis Waddell, who accepted the award.

Not only has Orion taken its flagship Prieska Copper-Zinc Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape province from prospect to fully permitted in record time; it has almost single-handedly put junior mining back on the South African national agenda. Through the Orion team’s efforts, junior mining has found its voice in South Africa – in government, amongst its peers, and in the advocacy organisations that guide and represent the industry.

Orion’s dynamic approach and exemplary leadership role has resulted in junior exploration earning a seat at the national negotiating table, in junior exploration companies having a say in how mining regulations impact them and in the potential of tax incentives to encourage further exploration in the country. This is all before producing its first metal.

“We new it was going to be a tough gig, but we decided right from the outset that we need a social licence to operate. The work that we have done has resulted in some real shifts in South Africa’s approach to junior mining and the role it can play in socio-economic development,” concluded Waddell.

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