Johannesburg- and London-listed Jubilee Metals says it has traded 24 500 t of newly produced chrome product from the expanded Inyoni chrome and platinum group metal (PGM) operations, in the Bushveld Complex, in South Africa, and is on track to trade an additional 17 000 t of metallurgical grade chrome a month.
The company expects the expanded project to contribute an additional 60 000 t of chrome concentrate, as well as an additional 4 000 oz of PGMs for the six months to December 31.
Jubilee entered into a long-term chrome processing partnership with an existing chrome producer in June, which provides the potential for additional chrome processing capacity of 360 000 t/y, for an additional 200 000 t/y of chrome concentrate and an additional 10 000 oz/y of PGMs to Inyoni’s production profile.
Under this agreement, Jubilee can benefit from much greater exposure to earnings derived from the sale of chrome concentrate. The terms of the agreement involved Jubilee upgrading an existing brownfield processing facility at the Inyoni mine, for an investment of $8-million.
Jubilee has advanced discussions to conclude its next partnership agreement, which will result in it increasing its processing capacity to 600 000 t/y.
For context, Jubilee’s Inyoni operation had an annualised capacity of 44 000 oz of PGMs and 1.2-million tonnes of by-product chrome concentrate in the financial year ended June 30, 2022.
The company says the expansion of its chrome operations has come at an opportune time when chrome prices are supportive of higher operating margins.
The group ultimately aims to expand its South African operational footprint by 65% over the next 24 months, to reach a yearly production capacity of two-million tonnes of chrome concentrate.
Meanwhile, Jubilee reports that its copper expansion strategy at the Roan project, in Zambia, is progressing ahead of schedule, with all long lead items having been secured.
The company will start with on-site assembly activities early in September, while commissioning remains on track to start in October.
At completion, the Roan project will be capable of processing a variety of run-of-mine (RoM) and waste sources.
Jubilee has secured an additional six-year copper RoM supply at Roan on the back of the targeted expansion of the operations.
The new RoM supply will form the base load material to be processed through the upgraded front-end of the project and will account for about 60% of the stated capacity of the project.
Notably, the new modular designed Roan front-end offers the opportunity to rapidly deploy satellite modular units to upgrade remote feed sources for further refining, similar to the chrome business model.
The upgrade of the Roan concentrator forms part of the company’s much larger Northern Refining solution to process mixed copper ores in Zambia, particularly weathered ores that are regarded as too complex to be processed.
Jubilee is progressing the implementation of a bulk pilot facility to confirm the scaling of the process as a key input into the design of a large-scale process facility in the country.
Results from some pilot trials targeting feed batches of about 500 t at a time are being used to confirm the design assumptions on scalability of the process flowsheet, which will confirm final plant unit sizes.
CEO Leon Coetzer comments that the incoming process solution offers tremendous potential to deploy a low-cost efficient copper processing solution for the vast historical tailings in Zambia.
He concludes that Jubilee is on an exciting growth path both in South Africa and Zambia.