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Jubilee on track to meet guidance with strong first-quarter performance

1st November 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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Johannesburg- and London-listed Jubilee Metals Group, which has a portfolio of assets in South Africa and Zambia, says it achieved a strong operational performance for the first quarter ended September 30, and remains on track to deliver against the production guidance for the full financial year.

Production of chrome concentrate increased to 336 683 t from 344 315 t in the previous quarter.

Chrome production rates are expected to continue to increase with the additional processing capacity provided by an additional chrome processing module, the Thutse processing module, which was completed in August.

The Inyoni operation, in South Africa, achieved an increase in platinum group metals (PGMs) production to 10 113 oz from 9 350 oz in the prior quarter, with no third-party production in the period.

The PGMs production rate is expected to further benefit from the increased feed rate from the Thutse processing module operating at design capacity.

Copper cathode and copper in concentrate produced was 934 t, compared with 653 t in the previous quarter.

The upgrade of Project Roan, in Zambia, which began in September, has necessitated the stoppage of the feed classification circuit which will disrupt processing at Roan for 16 weeks until December.

Production guidance for the 2024 financial year is 1.45-million tonnes of chrome concentrate; 42 000 PGM ounces; and 5 850 t of copper, weighted to the second half of the financial year, given limited production in the second quarter.

The lost-time injury frequency injury rate (LTIFR) for South Africa improved to 1.44 from 1.5, while the LTIFR for Zambia improved to 2.36 from 2.37.

The average chrome revenue per tonne of $85/t is influenced by the percentage of fixed chrome margin tonnage processed.

The increased margins from the new partnership agreements are expected to reflect stronger through the current quarter. The average chrome cost per tonne remained flat at $75/t.

The average PGMs revenue per ounce increased to $1 031/t from $976/ t.

Cost remained tightly under control with the average PGMs cash cost per ounce, excluding chrome credits, at $875.

The average copper revenue per tonne of $6 588 reflects the increase in copper sulphide concentrate sales from the Roan concentrator, while the average copper cost per tonne increased marginally to $4 907/t from $4 802/t.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

Jubilee has elected to further expand the chrome operational footprint by an additional 450 000 t/y feed process capacity using its existing modular approach.

The expansion allows for the construction of an additional chrome process module to be added to the current Thutse operations.

The expansion will increase Jubilee’s chrome processing footprint to nine chrome processing modules and increase the total chrome processing capacity to 1.7-million yearly.

The expansion of the chrome processing footprint remains contingent upon the group’s continuing capital allocation evaluation and assessment of prospective funding arrangements continues to advance discussions to conclude further life-of-mine (LoM) partnerships and expand the chrome operations via the roll-out of additional processing modules as it targets two-million tonnes of concentrates yearly in the future.

Zambia copper gathered further momentum with the securing of the first LoM copper ore offtake agreement from an existing mining company (Project M), as opposed to copper tailings offtake contracts signed in the past.

Project M seeks to replicate the success of the South African modular chrome expansion roll-out drive, which seeks to process copper-containing ore, deemed as waste by current or previous operators.

Jubilee’s project team is expected to complete the selection of the optimum process module capacity for Project M within the next six weeks with deployment within eight months following the conclusion of the capital allocation decision.

Project Roan’s upgrade includes the implementation of a 50 000 t a month processing module, specifically targeting the previously announced approximate six-year offtake agreement of unprocessed copper run-of-mine material discarded as mined waste.

During the period, Jubilee was awarded the Mufulira slag project to develop the processing of all historical slag waste from the smelter operations under a joint venture (JV) agreement with Mopani Copper Mines (MCM).

The commercial terms of the JV are currently being negotiated and are expected to be finalised once the sale of MCM is completed, which is subject to a well-publicised formal sale process.

Jubilee signed a technology exclusive partnership agreement for the development and implementation of a copper recovery solution called Glycine Leaching Technology for the processing of historical copper tailings with Draslovka Mining Solutions.

The partnership specifically targets the processing of copper and other base metal historical tailings in Zambia with a potential of extending the work to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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