Inyoni project: new fully integrated chrome and PGM recovery circuits

Jubilee Metals Group PLC, a leader in metals processing with operations in Africa has provided an update of its new and expanded fully integrated South African Inyoni PGM. During early 2021 at Inyoni, Jubilees’s primary PGM recovery circuit, Jubilee launched a project to create a new fully integrated and significantly expanded Inyoni operations. By way of a reminder, the project would deliver a fully integrated multi feed chrome and PGM beneficiation circuit that comprised:

  • a new run-of-mine chrome beneficiation plant (“OBB”) with a design capacity of 80 000 tonnes per month (previous decommissioned facility historically averaging 45 000 tonnes per month) of mined chrome and PGM containing ore from various suppliers to Jubilee;
  • an expanded fine chrome beneficiation circuit able to process up to 45 000 tonnes per month (previous 35 000 tonnes per month) of historical chrome and PGM tailings;
  • a renowned ultra-fine chrome (“UFC”) processing plant capable of processing up to 30 000 tonnes per month to maximise the recovery of the chrome prior to recovering the PGMs; and
  • expansion of the Inyoni PGM circuit capable of processing up to 75 000 tonnes per month (previous 45 000 tonnes per month) of tailings produced by the chrome beneficiation circuits which increases Inyoni’s PGM capability to 44 000 PGM ounces per annum

The new Inyoni operations would, on completion, target the processing of multiple feed sources to maximise the extraction of chrome as a by-product to produce a high quality PGM rich feed to the new upgraded and expanded Inyoni PGM plant, representing a first for the industry. The expanded operations would also reduce Jubilee’s reliance on JV arrangements, such as the Windsor PGM JV, to grow its financial and operational performance.

The total allocated capital for the integrated chrome and expanded PGM recovery facilities was £ 20.5 million (ZAR 408 million) targeted to be implemented over 11 months to carefully plan the commissioning of the new and expanded chrome and PGM circuits with the existing operations.

The project culminated in the commissioning of Jubilee’s proven UFC facility in February 2022 following the commissioning of the new expanded Inyoni PGM circuit during November 2021, bringing to completion the new fully integrated chrome and PGM recovery circuits. The UFC facility is able to recover ultra-fine chrome from the PGM feed stream further enhancing the PGM feed grade, while producing additional saleable chrome as a by-product at virtually no additional operating cost.

The success of this new world class facility is delivering early results in the operational performance for Q1 2022 with Inyoni’s chrome and PGM production increasing materially. The OBB facility has exceeded its throughput targets achieving a record processing of 86 000 tonnes of ROM ore in a single month since its commissioning in October 2021 adding to the existing Windsor and Windsor 8 chrome beneficiation plants to reach a processing record of 190 000 tonnes of ROM ore in a single month.

At Inyoni alone, chrome production remains on target. PGM ounce production continues to increase after first replenishing the in-process PGM pipeline that was drained as part of the capital project. Inyoni is expected to reach its 3 500 PGM ounce monthly target for May 2022 and delivered 8 018 PGM ounces in Q1 2022, an increase of 75% when compared with Inyoni’s average production rate of the previous two quarters despite refilling of the operational pipeline after start-up.

The increased throughput and production rates of the integrated Inyoni Facility has the added benefit of further dilution of cost to cushion the current inflationary pressure on operating costs. Cost per PGM ounce produced excluding transport cost is US$ 669 (transport cost currently US$198 per PGM ounce) and when fully accounting for the chrome by-product production credits results in an effective cost per PGM ounce produced of below US$ 450 (excluding transport cost). Jubilee’s targeted eastern limb PGM expansion strategy will significantly reduce transport cost of feed material from this region while expanding overall PGM production.

Jubilee is in advanced discussions to secure an existing mothballed PGM processing footprint capable of being repurposed by Jubilee.

With the Inyoni ramp-up expected to be completed during May 2022, the Company expects to achieve its guidance of 43 000 PGM ounces for the full financial period despite the interruptions caused by the implementation of the new integrated and expanded Inyoni operations.

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