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Jubilee achieves record third-quarter chrome output, while copper expansion advances

Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer at the Roan concentrator

Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer at the Roan concentrator

18th April 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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Aim- and ASX-listed Jubilee Metals has achieved record production levels at its South African chrome operations, both on monthly output for March and for the quarter ended March 31 – which is the third quarter of the company’s 2024 financial year.

Chrome output of 408 710 t in the quarter compares with the 381 114 t of chrome produced in the second quarter of the year.

Jubilee reported record monthly production of 145 102 t of chrome concentrates in March.

For the nine months ended March 31, chrome concentrate production has increased by 19.2% year-on-year to reach 1.12-million tonnes, compared with the 944 832 t of chrome concentrate produced in the comparable period of the prior financial year.

The South African chrome operations are poised to increase production further once a second chrome processing module at the Thutse project is completed. This 300 000 t/y processing module is on track for completion in August.

Jubilee advises that its fixed-margin chrome tolling agreements, which add to the processing of the company’s own resources, have been extended to 2027, which recognises Jubilee’s processing excellence.

Moreover, platinum group metal (PGM) production was lower quarter-on-quarter, having reduced to 8 339 oz in the reporting quarter from 10 131 oz in the preceding quarter. Jubilee attributes the lower production to less available stock of lower-grade feed material.

The company’s copper production in the reporting quarter was impacted on by scheduled construction activities at the Roan concentrator and Sable refinery, in Zambia, with 691 t of contained copper in cathode and concentrates having been produced.

On a year-to-date basis, however, copper production increased by 68% to reach 2 374 t for the nine months ended March 31, which was supported by Jubilee’s accelerated expansion of the operations.

The expansion of Jubilee’s Roan concentrator is poised to increase production to 13 000 t/y of copper. The concentrator experienced a six-week delay in the delivery of final electrical components. Jubilee expects the concentrator to be commissioned by the end of May.

Jubilee will receive material from two small-scale miners for processing in the upgraded Roan and Sable plants from June.

The company is also advancing discussions to conclude three copper partnership agreements involving an additional five small-scale copper mining operations.

Jubilee maintains its chrome and PGM guidance for the full-year at 1.45-million tonnes of chrome concentrate and between 40 000 oz and 42 000 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, osmium and iridium.

The company’s copper guidance has been revised to between 3 250 t and 4 000 t, taking into account the delay in completing the Roan plant expansion.

Commenting on the company’s performance in the reporting quarter, Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer says the South African chrome team delivered superb technical and processing capability and that operations were supported by the modular expansion approach that the company has been taking.

The processing efficiencies underpinning this performance continue to offer additional growth opportunities in the sector, he adds.

The company remains committed to replicating the success of the South African chrome operations at the Zambian operations, despite frustrating logistical difficulties that challenged the completion of the Roan plant’s expansion.

“Project Roan offers us the ability to significant step up our copper production in Zambia within the current quarter,” Coetzer confirms.

Meanwhile, Jubilee continues to develop a large-surface copper Waste Rock project together with Abu Dhabi-based International Resources Holdings. The potential of these projects, which are located in Zambia, sets Jubilee on a path to exceed its initial target of 25 000 t/y of copper production over the next two years.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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