Jubilee Metals Group PLC (LON:JLP), a leader in metals processing with operations in Africa, has provided an operational and corporate update on its copper projects in Zambia, specifically Project Roan, and its Inyoni PGM project in South Africa following a period of significant progress.
· Construction of Project Roan targeting the production of 10 000 tonnes per annum through the integrated copper processing plant in northern Zambia, is fast nearing completion with commissioning activities targeted to commence during December CY2021, slightly ahead of the anticipated timetable and notwithstanding international freight and logistics challenges experienced globally
· Project Roan remains on track to start delivering copper concentrate to the upgraded Sable Refinery during Q1 CY2022
· In addition to Project Roan, Jubilee is targeting the construction of a further two such copper concentrating facilities as part of its Northern Zambian refining strategy, as the Company targets the delivery of in excess of 25 000 tonnes of copper per annum by the end of CY2023
· On the back of positive results from the preliminary work undertaken at the Troulli Copper Project in Cyprus, coupled with the fact that Caerus Mineral Resources Plc (“Caerus”) has successfully increased its prospective rights, which offers the potential of greater scale to the project, Jubilee has reached an agreement with Caerus to extend its Option Agreement for a further 18 months, with both parties working towards a possible joint venture during Q1 CY2022
· Jubilee is planning to upscale its engineering team in Cyprus as it advances its test programme at the Troulli Project.
· Jubilee has completed the approximate US$21 million construction and commissioning of the extensive upgrade capitalisation programme of the Inyoni PGM Operations. The upgrade programme has significantly enhanced Inyoni’s processing capability by providing the flexibility to process a wide variety of third party PGM feed materials making it one of the only large scale PGM plants capable of processing blended ores
· The capitalisation programme was undertaken over an 11-month period and included a chrome recovery circuit together with a new feed blending and classification circuit with a significantly expanded PGM recovery circuit with the capability, based on its design, to process up to 75 000 tonnes per month of chrome and PGM rich material.
· Inyoni is now uniquely positioned to capitalise on the variety of PGM feed materials offered to the market
· Jubilee’s PGM operational target for the current financial period remains at 50 000 PGM ounces, despite the interruptions to operations during the construction and commissioning of the upgrade programme
· Jubilee continues to review the available options to expand its processing footprint into South Africa’s Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex PGM-bearing region
Leon Coetzer, Jubilee Metals Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Further significant progress has been made over recent months at both our South African and Zambian operations, as well as outside the African continent, with the collaboration with Cyprus based Caerus Mineral Resources.
“Our implementation team at Project Roan has successfully navigated the various challenges faced due to the impact of the Covid pandemic and its knock-on effect on international logistics and freight movement and construction activities. The state-of-the-art copper concentrator which will be able to produce both a copper oxide and a copper sulphide rich concentrate, and following some reprioritisation of the commissioning schedule, is nearing completion with staggered commissioning activities set to commence in December 2021, targeting the first commercial production during March 2022. Owning 100% interest in the Southern Refining Strategy, which incorporates the Sable Refinery and Project Roan, captures all of the earnings potential and total flexibility, putting us in a very strong position going into 2022.
“I am particularly pleased at the completion of the capitalisation and commissioning programme at our PGM operations which has transformed the operation from originally implemented to only process the historical tailings from the then Hernic Ferrochrome, to now been able to target the processing of a variety of PGM feed materials. This follows our success in securing vast quantities of PGM tailing materials through long term offtakes in the Eastern Limb earlier this year, solidifying our presence in the region. It gives me confidence that we will secure further long-term feed supplies and operational presence driving our sustained earnings in South Africa.
“Very telling of ‘the Jubilee Way’ is our reputation outside of the African sub-continent. The extended Option Agreement with Caerus demonstrates the recognition of Jubilee’s international brand and the results from the initial project review are encouraging and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the Caerus team, with the potential to further the partnership and benefit to Jubilee stakeholders in the future.”
Zambian Copper Projects Update
Having already achieved early earnings, the roll out of Jubilee’s copper and cobalt strategy offers the potential of significant continued earnings growth in addition to the achievements of its PGM and chrome operations.
The Sable Refinery, which is fully operational, acts as a central processing facility for third party material in the region in addition to providing refining access to Project Roan for the refining of the copper concentrates.
As previously announced, during CY2020 Jubilee entered into joint venture agreements to secure rights to process over 300 million tonnes of copper and cobalt containing tailings in Zambia. The copper and cobalt tailings are located in three central locations named Project Roan, Project Lechwe and Project Elephant. Jubilee has a set target to expand its access to refining capacity, to achieve a targeted 25 000 tonnes of copper units per annum.
Project Roan, which targets an annual production rate of 10 000 tonnes of equivalent copper units, entered its construction phase during H1 CY2021. The state-of-the-art copper concentrator, which will be able to produce both a copper oxide and a copper sulphide rich concentrate, is nearing completion with staggered commissioning activities set to commence within three weeks targeting the first commercial production during March CY2022.
The project team consistently demonstrated their tenacity to overcome the challenges brought on as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused havoc with delivery and construction schedules of imported equipment, due to international freight disruptions.
The Company is looking forward to commencing with the commissioning of the first of our targeted three copper concentrators on our path of delivering 25 000 tonnes of copper per annum.
Global Project Strategy
Jubilee’s approach to the research and development of copper waste and tailings projects is not limited to any particular region or country and Jubilee’s success to date has created a recognisable international brand. To this extent, Jubilee announced on 4 May 2021 its collaboration with Caerus to undertake thorough metallurgical test work in relation to the processing of copper and gold surface-based waste and tailings materials located in Cyprus.
The results from Jubilee’s initial project review have delivered encouraging results and the Company has concluded to allocate more resources to the project, including its in-country presence. In line with the decision, Jubilee has reached an agreement with Caerus to extend its Option Agreement for a further 18 months to complete, amongst other things, a review of the Troulli – Kokkinapetra Project in Cyprus, particularly given that Caerus has successfully increased their prospective rights offering greater scale to the Troulli Project.
PGM Projects Update – South Africa
Jubilee Metal’s PGM operations consist of the Inyoni and Windsor JV PGM operations.
Historically, Jubilee’s Inyoni Operations were largely focussed on the processing of historical tailings stockpiled at the operations. The financial distress suffered by Hernic Ferrochrome Pty Limited, that ultimately resulted in the sale of its business in late 2019, highlighted the risk of the dependency of the PGM operation on such a single source feed stream, to creating a long-term sustainable operation.
The Company took the decision in Q4 2020 to significantly enhance the Inyoni operation to form a PGM processing facility that offered the flexibility to process a wide range of PGM feed and tailings materials under PGM Supply Agreements from a variety of clients. The Company set out to establish a uniquely positioned processing facility targeting the wider industry.
The capitalisation programme and commissioning of the new enhanced Inyoni facility has been completed totalling approximately US$ 21 million and offering a new feed blending and classification circuit and significantly expanded PGM recovery circuit, with the capability, based on its design, to process up to 75 000 tonnes per month of chrome and PGM rich material. The project required intricate planning to commission the upgraded facility within an operational environment, while ensuring the safety of our people. Despite the disruptions to the operations during the expansion, the Company continues to target the production of 50 000 PGM ounces for the current financial period setting a solid foundation for achieving its 55 000 PGM ounces target on a sustainable basis.
As announced earlier this year, Jubilee’s PGM operational footprint has been largely focused on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex, a single area of the two main PGM areas in South Africa. The Eastern Limb has been a key focus to expand its PGM reach and operational capacity. A number of the PGM Supply Agreements entered into give access to this area, offering a platform to Jubilee to pursue further growth opportunities.