Project Roan delivers first copper material to the Sable Refinery
As previously announced, during 2020, 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 Elephant 1 and Project Elephant 2.
Jubilee targets to construct a processing facility at each of the three locations. The extent of the processing facilities is determined by the refining capacity at its Sable Refinery, currently limited to 14 000 tonnes per annum. Jubilee has a set target to expand its access to refining capacity, to achieve a targeted 25 000 tonnes of copper units per annum.
The first of the processing facilities has entered its construction phase at Project Roan, which targets an annual production rate of 10 000 tonnes of equivalent copper units. The processing facility will be commissioned over three phases to accelerate the delivery of copper units for further refining to Jubilee’s Sable Refinery.
On a slightly revised timetable due to heavy rains in the region early in 2021, Phase 1 has been achieved on schedule and delivery of the first copper units to the Sable Refinery has taken place.
Phase 1 targets the delivery of an additional 240 tonnes of copper units per month which will result in the first significant increase in production at the Sable Refinery. Phase 2 which is expected to be completed during Q3 targets a further increase in production to 400 tonnes of copper units per month.
The Sable Refinery is fully operational and ready to commence refining of Project Roan’s material and the delivery of this initial intermediate copper concentrate will significantly and rapidly add to the already achieved early earnings of £ 1.8 million (ZAR 39 million) from production during the first phase.
Looking forward, Phase 2 of Project Roan is targeted for commissioning during Q3 2021 which will further increase the amount and quality of intermediate copper concentrate delivered to the Sable Refinery for processing.
The continuing rebound in the copper price is seeing it at a near 10-year high at the time of writing with analysts predicting further significant growth over the next 12-24 months driven by several long-term trends.
An increased environmental agenda globally and electrification are at the centre of this with the proliferation of electric vehicles, the increased use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and increased consumption of electronics.
PROJECT ELEPHANT UPDATE
The completion of the design work for the Company’s second copper processing facility, Project Elephant, whereby Jubilee has secured the rights to approximately 150 million tonnes of copper containing surface tailings, is progressing well and remains on track to enter the execution phase for the project by August 2021. Project Elephant targets to reach the production of 12 000 copper units per annum in addition to Project Roan by the end of 2022.
Leon Coetzer, CEO of Jubilee, commented: “The successful delivery on time of copper concentrate from Project Roan to the fully operational Sable Refinery is the first major step in our commitment to achieve our targeted production of 25 000 tonnes per annum of copper within the next four years, and taking a leading role in the processing of surface tailings in Zambia.
“Project Roan is the first of three copper processing facilities that we target to implement to achieve this goal. Completion of Phase 1 on schedule demonstrates our team’s ability to deliver on our goals in a new jurisdiction. It provides me with great confidence that we will see significant success as our copper strategy is further implemented.
“Alongside the continued performance of our South African PGM operations, the targeted significant ramp up of our copper operation in Zambia is expected to further improve on Jubilee’s recently published record interim results for the six-month period to 31 December 2020, generating long term, quality earnings.
“Looking ahead to next steps, I am confident of the completion of Phase 2 of Project Roan on time during Q3 2021, which will further increase the copper concentrate being delivered to the Sable Refinery. With Project Elephant progressing simultaneously and on track to enter the execution phase of the project by August this year, I look forward with confidence to update shareholders as we progress.”
LONG-TERM OFFTAKE AGREEMENT
In addition to Project Roan’s Phase 1 commissioning, Jubilee has entered into a long-term offtake agreement and the Sable Refinery is expecting to start receiving third party copper containing ROM material. Under the terms of this agreement the third-party ROM material will be ramped up to reach 150 tonnes per month of delivered copper units by June 2021.