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Jubilee, Abu Dhabi company to form JV for Zambia waste rock project

Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer

Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer

28th March 2024

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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Abu Dhabi's International Resources Holding (IRH) has exercised its right to proceed with the formation of a joint venture (JV) vehicle with diversified metals processor Jubilee Metals Group for the implementation of a copper waste rock project in Zambia, as well as to progress with the upgrade of Jubilee’s Roan copper facility together with the continued expansion of its chrome operations.

The waste rock project scope targets the processing of in excess of 260-million tonnes of copper-containing surface material. The project is aimed at initially implementing four modular processing plants with a combined processing capacity of 2.4-million tonnes a year, capable of producing more than 20 000 t/y of copper in concentrates, starting in the second quarter.

Thirty per cent of the copper concentrate produced will be attributable to Jubilee.

In a project update issued on March 28, Jubilee says the modular processing units are similar in design to those used for the Roan plant upgrade, which seeks to upgrade the surface material to a copper concentrate which can be further refined to metal.

The initial capital investment for the waste rock project is estimated at $50-million.

Jubilee and IRH entered into a binding framework and JV agreement in December last year under which terms IRH will provide the capital for the implementation of the project, with Jubilee to implement and operate the project, subject to due diligence and finalisation of definitive agreements.

Under the binding framework and JV agreement, IRH has elected to exercise its right to form the dedicated JV through which the project will be implemented. This follows conclusion of due diligence by Jubilee, which has included both an extensive metallurgical test-programme conducted at Jubilee's development centre, as well as the review of both surface sampling and historical drill results of the waste rock material and confirming the quantity of material to be in excess of 260-million tonnes of material.

The grade of copper in the resource varies depending on the origin of waste rock material, with Jubilee's internally developed modular copper units confirming the capability to successfully upgrade the material to produce copper concentrates of more than 7% copper for further refining.

Jubilee said the delivery and assembly of the new front-end modular unit at Roan is proceeding as scheduled to begin commissioning and ramp-up during April. The addition of the modular unit enhances the Roan operation's capability to simultaneously process multiple feed sources and expands the overall capacity of Roan to produce up to 13 000 t/y of copper in concentrates.

Meanwhile, Jubilee says the resource definition of Project Munkoyo has progressed, with the aeromagnetic survey having identified a large magnetic anomaly associated with the known copper mineralisation confirmed by geochemical assays from recent trenching samples.

Project Munkoyo is located near Sable refinery, in Kapiri Mposhi district, about 65 km east of Kabwe, with a prospect lease area of 450 ha. It forms part of Jubilee's efforts to work with small-scale mining entities to convert the operations into sustainable long-term copper operations by integrating Jubilee's processing and operational expertise.

The aeromagnetic survey conducted at the site has revealed a large magnetic anomaly linked to the previously identified copper mineralisation, further supported by geochemical assays from trenching samples. Jubilee says these findings validate the presence and extension of the existing openpit, currently spanning 400 m, to an estimated length of 1 km within the lease area.

The progress to date confirms the potential to establish a mining operation of 25 000 t a month of copper reef for processing at Sable, offering formal employment and investment opportunities to the area.

Jubilee targets that initial copper ore from Project Munkoyo will be delivered to the Sable refinery from September.

The company says it views Project Munkoyo as one of many such identified opportunities in Zambia and targets to grow its portfolio aggressively further in partnership with the small-scale miners.

"The expansion of our copper operations is well under way as we look to significantly increase our copper production in the coming months on the back of the expansion of both Roan and Sable.

“I am particularly excited by the progress of our strategic relationship with IRH as we look to jointly develop the large waste rock project, which holds the potential to again demonstrate Jubilee's unique capability of turning waste to value,” Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer says.

In South Africa, Jubilee has extended its chrome tolling agreements through to February 2027, securing a total processing feed capacity of 2.4-million tonnes a year in relation to fixed margin feed.

Jubilee's chrome and platinum group metals (PGMs) business consists of two key business drivers – the processing of third-party chrome ore at Jubilee's Windsor and Inyoni operations under agreed fixed margin return per tonne of chrome concentrate produced, and the recovery of the remaining PGMs.

In addition, Jubilee has significantly expanded its chrome operational capacity to process chrome run-of-mine materials in partnership with the holders of chrome mining rights under an agreed earnings share model which offers Jubilee greater exposure to the chrome market.

Combined, Jubilee holds a total chrome processing capacity capable of producing 1.45-million tonnes a year of chrome concentrates.

Jubilee is pleased to announce it has agreed an extension to February 2027 of the fixed margin contracts for its Windsor chrome operations. When combined with the Inyoni operations, the company has 2.4-million tonnes a year of processing feed capacity.

Jubilee has committed to expanding its chrome operations in collaboration with the mining right holders at Thutse, adding a second processing unit with a processing capacity of 300 000 t/y of chrome concentrates. The commissioning of this unit is expected by August, financed through the cash flows from existing chrome operations.

The construction of Thutse's second chrome processing module is on track to start in August.

“Our chrome business continues to grow with Jubilee's renowned processing and operational capabilities as the drivers of our success. The continued renewal of our toll processing agreements speaks to the acknowledgement by industry of these capabilities,” Coetzer says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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