The Australian strategy was founded on the reclamation and processing of large tonnages of nickel sulphide tailings at the Leinster nickel tailings property in Western Australia. The Company had the right to access the tailings through a tailing supply agreement (TSA) dating back to 2005, with the owners, BHP Billiton (Pty) Ltd (“BHP”) and right to access other similar tailings depending, inter alia, on the viability, independently assessed, of the Leinster tailings (“Tailings”) for development.
Metallurgical testwork has shown that the Tailings are amenable to atmospheric leaching with sulphuric acid, achieving nickel recoveries of between 60 and 70%. Following a positive in-house preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the project, the Company engaged Bateman Projects SA to carry out an independent engineering study and economic evaluation (ESEE) of the project. Bateman recommended complementary testwork, including pre- flotation testwork, in order to refine the PEA flowsheet and to demonstrate the project’s potential to meet specified project performance criteria in a definitive feasibility study.
To this end Jubilee, through its subsidiary Braemore Nickel, obtained fresh samples from the Tailings in January 2012 for this testwork by Mintek, South Africa’s national mineral research organisation. The results of this work indicated, a potential for 52% recovery of nickel from the Tailings feed to a rougher flotation concentrate equating to 15% by weight of the feed sample.
In November 2016, BHP Billiton served notice on Braemore Nickel of termination of the Tailings Supply Agreement. Braemore informed BHP that it rejected the termination notice since it believed no factual or legal basis exists for such termination. This nickel tailings project does not form part of Jubilee's earnings nor has any influence on the execution of Jubilee's platinum and chrome projects. In the interim Braemore /Jubilee are considering their options in regard to this unilateral development.