Jubilee Metals Group PLC (LON:JLP) Chief Executive Officer Leon Coetzer caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their latest Kabwe project update.
Q1: From the Kabwe project update this morning, I note that you are constructing the processing plant whilst certain sections have been developed. Could you provide some more clarity on how that’s been done and how the risks of the project have been mitigated now?
A1: Clearly, this is not a typical way of executing the project where you are both constructing and developing that process and really comes back to the point that previously the process flowsheet or the process design that was intended for this project was based on a process developed by BMR, which is our partner and owner of the company called EPL. They developed a process in a laboratory based on batch testing and during those processes, it was the complexity of actually integrated such batch tests at laboratory-scale into an integrated flowsheet was not well understood.
Jubilee Metals and its technical teams then took the decision to rather simplify the process flowsheet and apply a very prudent test programme per sub-unit process. When I say sub-unit process, what I mean is we broke the project up into each defined steps being a zinc recovery circuit, a lead recovery circuit, a vanadium recovery circuit and a final tailings treatment facility so we do not try and solve all of these four processes within a single process unit.
That allowed us to accelerate the test work of the systems, so we have our teams testing, developing each sub-unit process, once that sub-unit process is developed, it’s handed over to our engineering team to do the designs and then finally over to the execution teams. This is why we’re in this position where the zinc recovery circuit has been concluded, execution teams is now running with that unit process to implement that unit process whilst our development teams are in between testing and designing for the lead and the vanadium circuit.
Of course, we have to do that because a lot of time has been lost on this project and we have to make up for that lost time to still have a project implemented over the next 12 months in Zambia. Of course, the prize is big enough, we’re talking about 6.5 million tonnes of very lead and zinc-rich material on surface that we are chasing.
Q2: You mentioned that discussions with the Zambian government is ongoing, how critical are these discussions to the success of the project?
A2: As you know, the project had a chequered history with the Zambian government, firstly losing its mining licence and then having it reinstated again, clearly this project has suffered many many delays over the past years and many promises have been made to government on the execution of that project.
It’s in an area desperately needing investment, job creation and successful projects so it’s vitally important that the Zambian government is continuously informed on what is happening on this project, As Jubilee Metals, we have to unequivocally show not only progress on the development of the process but very much continuous progress on and at site as we implement the project.
So, the discussions are very important and there’s no defined discussion target other than continuously ensuring that the government is update and in support of what we’re doing at that project.