The Australian strategy is founded on the reclamation and processing of large tonnages of nickel sulphide tailings at the Leinster nickel tailings property in Western Australia. The Company has the right to access the tailings through a tailing supply agreement (TSA) with the owners, BHP Billiton. The Company has the potential to access other similar tailings depending, inter alia, on the viability, independently assessed, of the Leinster 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 has engaged Bateman Projects SA to carry out an independent engineering study and economic evaluation (ESEE) of the project. Bateman has recommended complementary 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 work by Mintek, South Africa’s national mineral research organisation. The results of this work to date include a test, which showed 52% recovery of nickel from the tailings feed to a rougher flotation concentrate equating to 15% by weight of the feed sample. Mintek and Jubilee are reviewing the results, with a view to concluding this work shortly.