Jubilee Metals for the six months to June reported a sharp increase in platinum group metals (PGM) production, benefiting from the expansion of its Inyoni operations, and despite softer metal prices.
In its operations and projects update, the diversified metals miner and processor said yesterday that the sharp increase in PGM production of 21 140 ounces followed the expansion of its Inyoni facility in the Bushveld Complex in South Africa.
It achieved a 5 percent increase in production compared to the previous six-month period, despite planned operational interruptions to complete the new Inyoni processing facility.
“Notably, 95 percent of PGM ounces was produced at the new Inyoni operations during the six-month period, compared to 75 percent in the year 2021,” the group said.
“This brings enhanced economics to Jubilee and has mitigated the impact of softer PGM prices. Early results from the new Inyoni operations have outperformed expectations with a 34 percent reduction in PGM unit cost compared with the six-month period ending December 2021, as the facility benefits from significantly increased operational footprint and increased contribution from chrome production,” Jubilee said.
It said it had successfully completed its £58 million (R1.2 billion) investment programme to diversify and expand its PGM, copper and cobalt operational footprint.
In South Africa, construction and commissioning of the new 45 percent expanded Inyoni operations were completed in March with an annualised nameplate production capacity of 44 000 PGM ounces and 1.2 million tonnes combined chrome concentrate capacity increased by 85 percent.
Chief executive Leon Coetzer said: “The team has delivered a significantly expanded and further diversified operational footprint, which is already producing material increases in output and efficiencies.
“The rationale for the investment to expand our Inyoni operations is best illustrated by the simultaneous increase in not only the overall PGM production, but also the sharp increase in earnings generated per PGM ounce despite softer metal prices.
“The past six months, and especially the last quarter, have shown a sharp increase in PGM production and lower costs as Inyoni achieved its full design capacity with the majority of the PGM production stemming from this quarter.”
He said the performance underpinned Jubilee's target of reaching 44 000 PGM ounces a year from its facilities as more of its production benefits from its renowned efficiencies.
“Equally in copper, following a delayed start due to equipment deliveries, our Project Roan in Zambia reached 80 percent of design capacity during the first week of August. This puts us on track to achieve our targeted 3 700 tonnes of copper over the current six-month period ending December 2022.
“The increased production rates are expected to further reduce our unit cost. With the delivery of Project Roan, we are on track to reach 10 000 tonnes of copper for the full 12-month period ending June 2023, while we work to unlock the cobalt potential,” he said.
Looking forward, Coetzer said he was excited by what the 2023 financial period held.
“It offers tremendous potential growth for our company as it benefits from the foundation laid during the 2022 financial period, with the full exposure of our enlarged South African operations as well as the commissioning of our new 12 000 tonnes per annum Southern Copper Refining operations and the realisation of our cobalt production,” he said.