Jubilee Metals Group PLC (LON:JLP), the AIM and Altx traded metals processing company, today provided an update on its Kabwe Project in Zambia.
Kabwe, combined with Jubilee’s recently acquired multi-metal Sable Refinery, which acts as a central processing facility for third party material in the region, gives access to a current resource comprising of an estimated 6.4 million tonnes (3.2 million JORC compliant) of surface waste assets containing 356,843 tonnes of zinc, 351,386 tonnes of lead and 1.26% equivalent vanadium pentoxide.
The Project establishes Jubilee’s fully integrated multi-metal recovery and refining operational footprint in Zambia, brings the number of operational projects to five and marks the next stage of the Company’s international roll out and widening commodity exposure.
Leon Coetzer, Chief Executive Officer, says: “We have hit the ground running since acquiring the Sable Refinery and the commencement of operations is a major step towards the implementation of the Project. Kabwe represents an ideal example of where we can implement our bespoke multi-metal recovery processes to generate significant returns on capital investment, in tandem with addressing the environmental challenges caused by the historic tailings in the area.
“Our work onsite and offsite, which includes funding to establish metallurgical centres of excellence in the country, establishes our operational footprint in Zambia and demonstrates our commitment to local business and the environment.
“With our experience we can deliver both results quickly. We have rapid development timelines aiming to produce first copper cathode in Q4 2019, with first zinc concentrates and commercial grade vanadium products in Q2 2020 and early Q3 2020. Lead concentrates will follow the completion of the zinc and vanadium circuit with first production targeted for Q4 2020. The Kabwe project is expected to deliver strong operational margins on the back of a multi metal recovery strategy delivered at a single refinery.
“Zambia has a rich history of copper mining and a huge amount of potential in the mining waste processing space. The acquisition of Kabwe acts as both an entry point for Jubilee into the country, and a potentially highly profitable operation on which to base further acquisitions as we look to establish further centres of processing excellence within Zambia, which target processing of a variety of surface assets, all the while fulfilling local environmental obligations.
“I am extremely excited by the progress we are making at Kabwe, which demonstrates to shareholders our ability to implement our strategy of diversifying earnings across multiple commodities and jurisdictions. We are making progress across the portfolio highlighted by the recent update on bringing into operation of the Windsor PGM Project in South Africa which doubles our PGM processing capacity to approximately 60,000 ounces per annum. We reported a 75% increase in combined H1 2019 revenue to GBP 14.36 million and a 47% increase in combined H1 2019 operational earnings to GBP 5.64 million, and with the addition of Kabwe, the continued developments across the portfolio and a strong cash position, I look forward to increasing revenues and delivering shareholder value.”
- The existing copper leaching circuit has been brought on-line to process historical copper tailings as well as third party sourced run of mine material, targeting the first plated copper cathode metal production during early Q4 2019
- The ramp-up of the copper circuit remains on track targeting 250 tonnes of plated copper cathode per month during Q1 2020, before stepping up to reach 400 tonnes per month from Q2 2020 resulting in early project cash flows during the construction of the zinc and vanadium refining circuits
- The Project continues to receive keen interests from small to medium mining operations offering third party copper material for further refining, which is in-line with the vision of establishing Sable Refinery as a preferred regional refining hub
Zinc and Vanadium
- The zinc and vanadium circuit is primarily constructed for the processing of the Kabwe tailings material, targeting the production of 8,000 tonnes of zinc and 1,500 tonnes of vanadium pent oxide per annum
- Completion of the zinc circuit remains on track for Q2 2020 with the vanadium circuit following during Q3 2020
The Kabwe Project
- The Company is fully funded to execute the Project
- The Project demonstrates Jubilee’s commitment and capability to the responsible reprocessing of mine waste to reduce and contain the environmental impacts of historical mine waste
- The Project serves as an entry point for Jubilee to further discussions and test work on multiple additional potential waste reprocessing projects in Zambia
- The lead circuit will follow after stabilisation of the zinc and vanadium circuit
The Kabwe Project
As announced on 23 August 2019, Jubilee now owns the Sable Refinery and has commenced the copper refining operation while fast tracking the implementation of the recovery project for zinc, lead and vanadium in the surface tailings which lie adjacent to the Refinery.
The Kabwe mine operated continuously for 88 years until closure in 1994 and was regarded as one of the famous mines in Africa. The tailings from the processing operations were discarded at site, but without the proper containment infrastructure both from an air and ground water pollution point of view, which has created environmental problems to the surrounding population. This situation is ideal for the Jubilee team to exploit through implementing its processing operations to create value from the metal rich tailings, while alleviating the environmental issues. Importantly, with relevance to the environmental improvement of the site, the long-term tailings footprint at the site will be greatly reduced. The processing will result in the reduction in tailings material, with all residue produced from reprocessing to be deposited and any run off contained according to current health and safety regulations, significantly reducing the environmental hazard posed by the historical tailings.
Research, Development and Testwork
The Company recognised the opportunity to utilise its proprietary metals processing solutions, developed by its process design and research team, to initiate economically viable options to process saleable copper, zinc, lead and vanadium. The studies have been based on solving the environmental legacy while releasing the value of the in-situ metal.
In addition to processing historic zinc, lead and vanadium tailings, Jubilee has commissioned the copper leaching circuit to treat existing copper tailings, with the objective to produce plated copper cathode. Physical separation equipment is also being installed to recover cobalt from the copper tailings material, with targeted production in early Q4 2019.
Third Party Material Processing
Third party material will only be considered if it offers the potential to further enhance project earnings. Jubilee has received keen indicative interests from both copper and zinc, small and medium scale mining ventures for further refining of their mine material. These additional sources of throughput have the potential to further extend the Project life beyond the 12 year life offered from existing tails alone.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Jubilee has joined the Zambia Mining and Environmental Remediation and Improvement Project (“ZMERIP”), a government initiative to reduce environmental health risks to the local population in critically polluted mining areas in Zambia, including the Kabwe municipality. The Company is working on remediation activities and improving environmental activities.
The Company is committed to creating employment and business opportunities in the Kabwe municipality.
Bolstering the Team
Jubilee has deployed a senior management team to the integrated Kabwe Project to further strengthen its existing team of 110 employees at Kabwe. The Company is expecting the team to grow to 200 individuals at full project capacities.
The copper circuit has been brought into operation with the first production of plated copper cathode metal targeted for early Q4 2019. The copper circuit during phase 1 of the project holds the capacity to produce 250 tonnes of plated copper cathode metal per month before increasing capacity during Q2 2020 to 400 tonnes per month. The zinc and vanadium circuit has commenced construction with the first zinc concentrate and commercial grade vanadium products in Q2 & Q3 2020. The zinc and vanadium circuit capacity during phase 2 of the project holds the capacity to produce 8,000 tonnes of zinc and 1,500 tonnes of vanadium pent oxide per annum. The lead circuit will follow once both the zinc and vanadium circuit has reached stable operations and the first lead concentrate is targeted for Q4 2020.