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South Africa’s Jubilee Metals continuing to grow copper strongly in Zambia

Jubilee Metals in South Africa and Zambia.

Jubilee Metals in South Africa and Zambia.

26th February 2024

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The copper operations in Zambia of South Africa’s Jubilee Metals showed strong growth in the six months to December 31, with further sharp increases expected going forward.

The Johannesburg- and London-listed Jubilee, led by CEO Leon Coetzer and chaired by former Mpumalanga Premier Mathews Phosa, recovers copper in Zambia and chrome and platinum group metals (PGMs) in South Africa, from historical waste rock, run-of-mine materials and tailings.

In the six months ended December 31, the continued expansions of copper and chrome were able to offset the fall in PGM metal prices to provide revenue and earnings growth.

In Zambia, where Jubilee is investing, copper output improved by 46.5%, while in South Africa, incremental growth plans delivered 7.4% more chrome concentrates.

Further sharp increases are forecast with the completion of the upgrade to Zambia’s Roan copper concentrator, while in South Africa, further chrome processing modules are being added to the Thutse operations as Jubilee moves closer to achieving its goal of two-million tonnes of chrome concentrate a year compared with the latest half-year output of more than 718 000 t.

As a by-product of the chrome operations, PGMs improved processing efficiencies to increase half-year production by 11.2%.

The expansion of the copper sulphide circuit of Zambia’s Sable refinery is underway to better accommodate the expected sharp increase in copper production from the Roan operations and the development of the Munkoyo copper resource project, near Sable.

In addition, the partnership on a new 260-million-tonne waste rock deposit with International Resources Holding of Abu Dhabi, which is expected to close in mid-March, is described as being on the way towards unlocking significant value from one of Zambia's largest waste rock copper assets.

Group revenue rose 18.4% to £74.7-million and group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased by 13.6% to £11.7-million.

Group profit after tax increased by 7.3% to £4.4-million and earnings a share by 6.7% to 0.16 pence a share.

To accelerate the copper expansion drive, an oversubscribed placing of £13-million occurred on January 4.

“Environmental, social and corporate governance efforts continue to be at the forefront of our operations, with renewable energy in Zambia and the roll-out of our group safety management system providing incremental steps towards sustainable mining in the locations where we operate,” Coetzer emphasised in a release to Mining Weekly.

MODULAR PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY

A modular processing technology to expand operations to exceed 25 000 t of copper content a year in copper cathode and concentrates, is expected to be achieved by steps that include expanding the Sable refinery capacity to 16 000 t of copper units a year and Roan's to 13 000 t of copper units a year.

This involves constructing Sable’s sulphide circuit by the third quarter of this year and ramping up a new copper processing module at Roan by the end of April.

Enhancing Thutse's capacity involves constructing two additional 50 000-t-a-month modules, thereby achieving its long-term yearly production target of two-million tonnes of chrome concentrates.

Full-year copper production guidance is unchanged at  5 850 t with chrome concentrate expected to exceed guidance of 1.45-million tonnes of chrome concentrate. PGMs production guidance remains unchanged at 42 000 oz. 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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