South African metals group awarded joint venture copper/cobalt slag project in Zambia

Night view of the Mufulira acid plant.

Night view of the Mufulira acid plant.

17th October 2023

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( ­­– A diversified South African metals processing business that has expanded into Africa, on Tuesday announced that it had been awarded a copper slag project that will be executed in joint venture (JV) collaboration with a Southern African mining company.

JSE AltX-listed and London Aim-quoted Jubilee Metals Group will develop the Mufulira slag project through JV collaboration with Mopani Copper Mines of Zambia.

Earmarked for processing are 13-million tonnes of historical slag, estimated to contain 0.7% copper and 0.27% cobalt, in addition to the current slag arisings.

The JV involves Jubilee being exclusively appointed to design, implement and operate the new processing facility and having the first right to fund the implementation of the project in collaboration with Mopani.  

Mufulira is a Copperbelt town located about 40 km from Kitwe. Its copper deposits have been mined over many years, with Mopani owning the Mufulira smelter, where concentrates are blended with toll concentrates to produce copper anodes containing 99.6% copper.

Jubilee, which has developed metal extraction solutions from waste and overlooked materials, has already secured 300-million tonnes of copper and cobalt tailings in Zambia for upgrading and refining.

Its multi-project portfolio across South Africa and Zambia provides exposure to a commodity basket that includes platinum group metals (PGMs), chrome, copper and cobalt.

It processes up to 44 000 oz of PGMs a year in South Africa and recently countered the drop in the PGMs basket price by expanding chrome operations into higher-margin offtake agreements.

The Mufulira slag project is now presenting further scale to Jubilee’s project portfolio in the form of material that has a valuable metal content. 

“The professional and transparent manner in which the award process has been managed by Mopani speaks to their exceptional standing in the industry and I welcome the opportunity to work closely with our JV partners,” Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer stated in a media release to Mining Weekly.

The slag project is described as being well located to integrate into Jubilee’s northern copper strategy and Jubilee speaks of looking forward to engaging during the implementation of the slag project with the new strategic investor that Mopani is currently reviewing.

The stated mission of the President of Zambia is to achieve three-million tonnes of copper output a year from Zambia and the slag project is seen as forming part of a greater waste recovery initiative in Zambia to help achieve that mission.

“Our immediate next step is to form an integrated team with Mopani to unpack the complexity within the slag material through our development centre,” said Coetzer.

Jubilee expects to implement the project in two phases, prioritising the quick-to-process initial slag material while over the coming six-month period simultaneously completing a process review of the more complex slags.

As part of an environmental protection commitment, the upgraded Mufulira smelter is equipped with two acid plants that convert up to 95% of the sulphur dioxide emitted into sulphuric acid.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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