Metals recovery business Jubilee Metals has forged an alliance with United Arab Emirates-based International Resources Holding (IRH) to extract copper from waste rock dump in Zambia.

The waste deposit was created with disposed material and ore, considered too low grade at the period, from more than 60 years of mining.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the project can produce around 2,000 tonnes (t) of copper per month using Jubilee’s modular copper units.

The two companies signed a binding funding term sheet and a joint venture agreement to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which will finance the acquisition of the waste rock deposit and implementation of the processing solution. Jubilee will own at least 30% of the SPV.

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By GlobalData

Jubilee will design, implement and operate the processing solution, while IRH will offer all necessary capital via a mix of equity and shareholder loans.

The SPV will also reimburse all of Jubilee’s costs incurred for its development.

Located in the Northern Copperbelt in Zambia, the waste rock asset is estimated to hold more than 350mt of material. Copper results from historical exploratory samples have revealed grades higher than 1.5%.

Leveraging copper content within the waste material deposited on the surface offers long-term production capacity to support the company’s growth targets.

It also supports the company’s goal of regional expansion and resource optimisation in the country.

The company considers the project to be a significant step in realising its commitment towards sustainable extraction.  

Jubilee has the sole right to purchase all rights related to the waste rock material for a consideration of $30m (£23.94m). All Jubilee’s rights in the project will be ceded to the SPV.

The consideration is payable over an 18-month period from the date of the agreement. It will begin with $1.75m, followed by quarterly payments after the first payment.

Jubilee plans to conduct extensive drilling and sampling to improve the resource definition, followed by processing development work. It is focused on speeding up project implementation and beginning copper production.

The total estimated cost of the project, including mining equipment and project infrastructure, is nearly $50m.

In the project’s initial stage, selective mining will be conducted to feed four copper processing modules.

Jubilee CEO Leon Coetzer said: “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 rollout of our modular copper processing units in the country with the potential to far exceed our goal of reaching 25,000t of copper per annum.

“The binding funding term sheet that we have executed affords Jubilee the opportunity to aggressively pursue its copper growth strategy in partnership with a prestigious group such as the IRH. 

“This partnership combines Jubilee’s unique technical and operational experience with the strategic in-country copper focus and financial support of the IRH. The strategic significance of this partnership is further highlighted by the recently announced 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.”