British mineral company Jubilee has announced the expansion of its chrome and platinum group metals (PGMs) operations in South Africa.

The deal, signed with an unnamed miner, will see Jubilee take on chrome and PGM feed from a mine on the west end of the Bushveld region. The Bushveld belt of mines is a PGM-rich vein across the northern region of South Africa.

Jubilee will increase its processing capacity by 360,000 tonnes (t) per annum. As part of the deal, this capacity will come from a Jubilee retrofit of the mine’s disused processing facility. The upgrades are projected to be complete by the end of June 2023 at a cost of $8m (£6.38m).

Additionally, 10,000oz of PGM feed will go through Jubilee’s existing Inyoni processing facility. The partnership has an initial term of six years with the potential of renewal for a further four.

Down the line, Jubilee may take up an option to double the output from the deal to 720,000t per annum via an expansion of the site. The company stated that they intend to take up the expansion option and complete it within 12 months of operations commencing at the facility.

Leon Coetzer, CEO of Jubilee, stated: “This new partnership agreement presents a more integrated long-term relationship with an existing chrome producer that will offer a stronger integration of the processing solution with the source of the material ensuring a long-term stable production profile. Under this new template agreement, Jubilee is offered a much greater exposure to the earnings derived from the sale of chrome concentrate.”

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Jubilee also stated its growth target for the next two years. Coetzer said the company aims “to expand our South African operational footprint by 65% over the next 24 months to reach nearly 2 million tonnes of chrome concentrate annually as we continuously strive to enhance our earnings”.

With power supply issues affecting South Africa, rendering many mines unable to produce, Jubilee has been installing backup power solutions at its chrome operations to ensure and maintain operational efficiency. The company estimates that by the end of June 2023, 60% of its chrome operations will be fitted with backup power supplies.