Jubilee Metals Group has announced the acquisition of two opencast copper mining operations in Zambia, marking a significant step in the company’s integrated copper strategy in the region.

This move is set to bolster the company’s copper production capacity and enhance its processing flexibility.

The acquisitions are part of Jubilee’s strategy to increase its copper production to a target of 16,000 tonnes (t) annually at its Sable refinery.

The first mine, purchased for $0.25m in cash and $1.5m (£1.18m) in shares, aims to produce 25,000t per month of copper with a grade between 3% and 4%.

The second mine, which will see a ramp-up to 20,000t per month at the same grade, will be acquired for $2.1m in shares. Both mines have a projected lifespan of more than eight years.

Jubilee has also begun commissioning activities at the upgraded and expanded Roan facility in Zambia.

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This includes a new offtake agreement for low-grade mined material and the preprocessing of feed material for Roan, setting the stage for an accelerated commissioning and ramp-up in July.

The acquisitions are expected to unlock near-surface copper resources and exemplify Jubilee’s capability to leverage its process expertise.

Jubilee’s approach to resource partnerships incorporates sustainable mining and metal recovery practices, potentially driving copper production beyond the initial 25,000t per year target.

Underpinning Jubilee’s integrated copper strategy in Zambia is its ability to extract value from materials often discarded as waste or deemed too complex for traditional extraction methods.

The company targets tailings, discarded low-grade materials and near-surface copper reefs, all available in large quantities in Zambia.

Upon completion, the deal will enable Jubilee to upscale its operations and transition the Sable facility into a refiner for opencast mining materials. Meanwhile, the Roan facility will process mainly low-grade and previously processed materials.

Sable and Roan are set to operate independently, with Sable reaching full capacity from opencast operations and Roan potentially expanding to include downstream refining.

The combined processing capacity target of 25,000t per year of copper will be achieved with an expanded Sable at 16,000t per year and Roan at 8,000–9,000t per year, depending on feed grades.

The Waste Rock Project, announced earlier, is being carried out in partnership with IRH in Abu Dhabi and falls within the low-grade material category.

It is currently undergoing resource drilling and process testing as part of an independent technical and processing study by the joint project team.

Over the next 12 months, Jubilee plans to install a satellite upgrade facility near both operations as part of its strategy to operate regional material upgrade facilities before refining.