Jubilee and Mopani Copper Mines Plc enter into binding MOU for Refining Facility for Copper and Cobalt Tailings Projects and Copper Implementation Update
Jubilee, a leader in metals processing with operations in Africa (AIM: JLP/Altx: JBL), is pleased to announce the execution of a binding Memorandum of Understanding with Mopani Copper Mines Plc, a subsidiary of ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc in Zambia, (“Mopani”, “ZCCM” and collectively the “Parties”) for the implementation of additional copper and cobalt refining capacity through the recapitalisation of existing refining capacity placed under care and maintenance by Mopani (the “Agreement”). This additional refining capacity targets to increase Jubilee’s existing copper refining capacity by a further 17 000 tonnes of copper per annum (the “Project”) and, together with the Sable Refinery, increases the Group’s total potential refining capacity to in excess of 31 000 tonnes per annum. The Project will establish Jubilee’s Northern Zambian refining footprint for the refining of the copper and cobalt concentrates produced at Jubilee’s Kitwe and the Luanshya copper and cobalt tailings. Jubilee’s Sable Refinery will be dedicated to the refining of concentrates produced by its Project Roan currently under construction and set to commence commissioning in November 2021 as well as its copper tailings at Kabwe and contracted 3rd party ore suppliers.
The Agreement recognises the significant synergies offered through the Project to the Parties. The Agreement under a collaborative framework brings together Jubilee’s expertise in the processing of tailings and Mopani’s established refining footprint with immediate access to existing refining infrastructure under pinned by an approximate 275 million tonnes of surface copper and cobalt tailings within the region. Under the Agreement Jubilee is able to accelerate the implementation of its Zambian copper strategy at significantly reduced capital and project risk with the potential of increasing its production rates to utilise the available refining capacity.
The Agreement holds the benefit to Mopani to gain additional copper units for its smelting operations via a first right of refusal for off-take at market rates of copper sulphide concentrates produced by the Project, while all oxide associated copper will be refined by the Project to copper metal. This will be achieved by Jubilee refurbishing and expanding existing refining and supporting infrastructure at Mopani (“Targeted Refining Area”) which is currently decommissioned and does not form part of Mopani’s future business plan. ZCCM is a partner to the Project through its joint ownership of certain of the copper tailings material.
· Jubilee establishes a refining presence at both its Sable Refinery in the South as well as at Kitwe in the North to better serve all of its secured copper & cobalt tailings projects – targeting a combined refining capacity of 31 000 tonnes of copper units per annum
· Jubilee now able to accelerate the implementation of its Zambian copper strategy at significantly reduced capital and project risk
· The Agreement secures access to significantly increased refining capacity which offers Jubilee not only the potential to bring forward its stated target of 25 000 tonnes of copper units per annum but also to surpass the target by utilising the combined refining capacity on offer
· The Agreement recognises the synergies offered between Mopani, as one of Zambia’s leading copper producers, and Jubilee as an established specialist, processor of choice for tailings and secondary materials
· Jubilee and Mopani agree to collaborate on the Kitwe and Luanshya copper and cobalt tailings project to fast track the implementation of the Project which has access to more than 275 million tonnes of tailings
· Jubilee secures unrestricted exclusive access to the Targeted Refining Area for the design and implementation of the Project
· Once upgraded the Targeted Refining Area increases Jubilee’s access to copper refining capacity by an additional 17 000 tonnes of copper per annum and will include a cobalt refining circuit
· Under the Agreement, Mopani is offered the first right to the offtake of the copper sulphide concentrate at market related terms produced by the Project, while the copper oxide associated material will be refined to metal by the Project
· In addition, Mopani has offered the Project a long-term acid supply agreement for the recovery and refining of the copper and cobalt containing tailings
· The Agreement offers the opportunity for accelerated investment into the region
· Jubilee is committed to prioritise local employment for the accelerated Project implementation
· Project Roan successfully navigated the challenges posed by Covid restrictions and is set for completion of construction to commence commissioning during November 2021
Leon Coetzer, CEO of Jubilee, commented:
“The Agreement is structured within a collaborative framework which recognises each party’s contribution to the ultimate success of the project and establishes a mutually beneficial partnership to fast track the implementation of our copper and cobalt tailings projects.
“The Agreement endorses the mutual respect between Mopani and Jubilee and the joint value offered by Jubilee refurbishing and expanding Mopani’s decommissioned copper and cobalt processing facilities. I am delighted by the Agreement reached which sets into motion the accelerated implementation of our Kitwe and Luanshya copper and cobalt tailings projects to reach even sooner our target of 25 000 tonnes of copper per annum.
“The Agreement will see Jubilee refurbish and expand some of Mopani’s processing facilities currently not in use and removes the need to build a new processing facility to process the nearby tailings deposits we secured last year. This Agreement with Mopani directly improves both our expected project timelines and required project capital while reducing overall project risk through the access offered to existing refining infrastructure.
“Our engineers are already on-site working alongside the Mopani team to upgrade the detail Project designs as we accelerate the implementation.
“I look forward to working with the Mopani team as we deliver this Project and continue to further explore opportunities for collaboration.
“Our Project Roan implementation team has performed exceptionally well to overcome the logistics challenges posed by shifting COVID restrictions and have now secured the release of all imported equipment for the completion of the project which is now firmly set to commence commissioning in November of this year.”
Rationale and Further Details of the Agreement
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 in Zambia. With the addition of the refinery at Mopani the project naming convention has been updated for clarity as follows:
– Southern Refinery Strategy (14 000 tpa capacity) which incorporates the Sable Refinery together with Project Roan located in the Ndola area; and
– Northern Refinery Strategy (17 000 tpa capacity) which incorporates the newly targeted refinery at Mopani, called Leopard together with the copper tailings project in the Luanshya area, called Project Lechwe (previously Elephant 1), as well as the copper and cobalt tailings in the Kitwe area called Project Elephant (previously called Elephant 2). Jubilee has secured additional copper and cobalt tailings at Mufulira which is currently being sampled to confirm the quantity and quality and will form part of the Project Elephant resource.
Jubilee is planning to construct a processing facility at each of the three locations. T he first of the processing facilities is under construction at Project Roan, which targets a ramp-up over three phase to reach full production to a rate of approximate 10 000 tonnes of equivalent copper units per annum with commissioning scheduled to commence in November 2021 and reaching full production by end of Q1 2022. Roan commenced with the delivery of early concentrate as part of its phase 1 commissioning to Sable Refinery in April of this year.
The completion of the design work for the Company’s second copper processing facility, Project Lechwe, whereby Jubilee has secured the rights to approximately 160 million tonnes of copper containing surface tailings, is progressing well and remains on track to enter the execution phase for the project by end August 2021. Project Lechwe targets to commence production during Q4 2022 targeting a production rate of 7 500 copper units per annum as part of the Northern Refinery Strategy.
To date the extent of the processing facilities were determined by the refining capacity at the Company’s 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 Agreement entered into between Jubilee and Mopani captures the binding key terms under which the Parties agree to collaborate on the implementation of Project Elephant, satiated adjacent to Mopani’s refinery. The detailed joint services agreements will be further captured in a Collaboration Agreement between the Parties. The Agreement offers Jubilee the potential to incorporate the nearby Project Lechwe, which is scheduled to enter the execution phase by the end of August 2021. Combined the two projects have secured access to more than 275 million tonnes of copper and cobalt tailings and targets a combined annualised production rate of approximately 15 000 tonnes of copper units.
Under the Agreement it is envisaged that the copper and cobalt tailings material from project Elephant, which is partly owned by the ZCCM, will be upgraded and processed through a dedicated processing and refining facility based on the recapitalisation by Jubilee of existing refining infrastructure located at Mopani (Targeted Refining Area). The Targeted Refining Area will hold the potential to produce up to 17 000 tonnes of copper units per annum in addition to Sable Refinery’s 14 000 tonnes per annum capacity. The Targeted Refining Area is currently not utilised by Mopani and does not form part of Mopani’s existing operational strategy. The Agreement offers the opportunity to refurbish and bring back into operation this decommissioned Targeted Refining Area offering an expanded copper refining footprint at Mopani and the associated direct investment and employment into the region.
24 August 2021
For further information visit www.jubileemetalsgroup.com or contact:
Jubilee Metals Group PLC
Colin Bird/Leon Coetzer
Tel +44 (0) 20 7584 2155 / Tel +27 (0) 11 465 1913
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