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Dual-listed mine-to- metals company Jubilee Platinum’s Hernic project, on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex, continues to successfully ramp up its production and expects to reach full design capacity of 45 000 t/m of feed material by next month.
The project produced its first commercial platinum concentrate in March.
Steady-state production of 1 100 t/m of platinum concentrate containing 100 g/t platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (4E) platinum-group metals (PGMs) is being achieved and exceeds the contracted grade by 20%.
The hydraulic mining of the tailings feed material to the chromite and PGM recovery plant is expected to be commissioned over the next ten days. This mining technique entails reclaiming the plant feed material from the existing tailings dams using high-pressure water guns instead of the current mechanical (excavator) reclamation operation.
Jubilee expects to conclude the ramp-up of production at the plant on the back of the commissioning of the hydraulic mining step.
“I am particularly gratified with the way our team tackled the Hernic project, which was delivered on time and within budget. The scale of the . . . project represents a real challenge [for us] as a small developing company and the outcome demonstrates our readiness to embark on other similar-size or larger projects,” Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer commented in a statement earlier this month.
He added that the commissioning and ramp-up of the Hernic chromite and platinum recovery plant had shown “great progress, reaching 74% of designed throughput”.
“We look forward to ramping up production to full capacity over the coming weeks as we bring the final processing unit on line . . . the platinum and chrome processing plants have met the commercial specifications for the platinum and chrome concentrates produced,” Coetzer stated.
Jubilee also reported that the Dilokong chrome mine (DCM) has returned to its targeted operational output, following the successful commissioning of the expanded upgraded chrome tailings storage facility for the enriched PGM material. Chromite concentrate production totalled 14 973 t in the first quarter of this year.
Jubilee’s new PlatCro PGM project has also advanced, with the first £1.16-million upfront payment made for the PGM-related royalties.
Jubilee signed an agreement with PlatCro for the acquisition of new 4E PGM-bearing surface material at PlatCro’s property in March, as well as all future surface material at PlatCro.
The existing surface material is estimated at 1.25-million tonnes, with an estimated grade of 2.7 g/t 4E PGMs. The payment secured Jubilee the sole right to earnings from all PlatCro project’s future platinum-bearing material.
The surface material is located within trucking distance of the Hernic operation, thereby providing the opportunity to process the additional material at the company’s existing Hernic plant for PGM recovery.
Further, as announced on March 30, Tjate Platinum Corporation notarially executed a mining right granted by the Department of Mineral Resources in respect of the Tjate project, in Limpopo.
Tjate is reviewing the mine works programme and associated technical design criteria to conclude the updated design criteria and initiate applications for utility licences as soon as possible.
The current project design includes the establishment of a mine targeting 132-million tonnes of ore containing 22.3-million ounces of 4E PGMs (indicated and inferred) and the associated platinum concentrating facility targeting 310 000 oz/y of 4E PGMs.