Jubilee takes stake in Zambia rock dump to process copper

Jubilee Metals’ Kabwe lead, zinc and vanadium project. Photo: Supplied

Jubilee Metals’ Kabwe lead, zinc and vanadium project. Photo: Supplied

Published Dec 13, 2023


Jubilee’s new copper project in Zambia, announced yesterday, sent its share price soaring 18.25% to R1.49 on the JSE yesterday afternoon,

The diversified and metals recovery business in South Africa and Zambia said yesterday it had secured one of the largest copper waste rock assets in Zambia, and had formed a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi-based International Resources Holding RSC (IRH), for a R975-million project.

By using Jubilee’s newly developed modular copper processing unit, the aim was for the historical waste dump to produce in more than 20 000 tons per year of copper at a cost of below $4 000 (R75 445) per ton of copper.

“The transaction marks a significant milestone on our journey in Zambia, catapulting our copper expansion in the region. The Waste Rock Project, anchored by this substantial resource, will fast-track the roll-out of our modular copper processing units in the country with the potential to far exceed our goal of reaching 25 000 tons of copper per annum,” CEO Leon Coetzer said yesterday.

Jubilee and IRH formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which would fund both the copper waste rock asset acquisition and implementation of the processing solution.

IRH would provide the capital required by the SPV through a combination of equity in the SPV, and shareholder loans, while Jubilee would design, implement and operate the mining and processing.

IRH is affiliated to the Abu Dhabi conglomerate, International Holding Company PJSC (IHC), the most valuable listed holding company in the United Arab Emirates, and the second-most valuable in the Gulf Co-operation Council region.

The copper waste rock assets were estimated at more than 350 million tons of waste rock on surface. Early results from sampling indicated zones with grades higher than 1.5% copper.

Jubilee’s technical team had started resource definition and process reviews to complete the project detail and timeline, within the next 60 days.

Overall project costs including mining equipment and infrastructure were expected to be about $50m (R947.5m), the company said in a statement.

Jubilee said it was able to build and commission its modular copper units within a 12-month period and it aimed to start in the first quarter of next year.

“This partnership combines Jubilee’s technical and operational experience with the strategic in-country copper focus, and financial support of the IRH. The significance of this partnership is further highlighted by the recent selection of IRH as the preferred strategic equity partner for Zambia's Mopani Copper Mines asset, which owns the Mufulira Slag Dump Project recently awarded to Jubilee,” said Coetzer.

He said Jubilee and IRH shared similar values in their commitment to sustainable investment through broad-based community involvement and prioritising local partnerships.

He said from an ESG perspective, their copper processing modules involved eco-friendly methodologies, efficient waste rock management, and the rehabilitation of historic waste rock dumps accumulated over decades of copper mining in Zambia.

The project would also provide employment opportunities and strengthen the local economy in Zambia, said Coetzer.