LEON Coetzer and Jubilee chairman Colin Bird are nothing if not agile. Jubilee was going to offer innovative processing technology to platinum miners, until platinum fell out of favour. When South Africa was going through crippling load shedding, Jubilee was selling electricity. In the last 18 months, coinciding with stronger chrome prices, Coetzer has been signing up partnerships to process platinum group metals and chrome tailings, and the company has changed its name slightly (Jubilee Metals Group) to reflect the different focus. The latest deal with BMR Group extends Jubilee’s activities into Zambia, just as bigger South African miners are hunting geographical diversification. Coetzer is typically grandiose in his description of the deal as “... in line with our mission to take our brand and expertise across country borders and commodities”. Revenue has soared after these moves but profits have not yet followed, and Jubilee retains its minnow status. Is this about to change? Possibly. Jubilee attracted £4.5m in institutional support from two UK-listed wealth funds in January, a massive thumbs-up for the firm’s strategy according to Coetzer. Longer term, it holds a valid mining right for Tjate, but in the use-it-or-lose it context of South African mineral rights ownership the licence may have dubious value. It could sell Tjate – not easy in this platinum market – or develop it, but first things first for Coetzer and team.
LIFE OF LEON
As an adviser to the process engineering faculties at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch (his alma mater), Coetzer’s technical abilities are beyond question. He spent about 20 years in the Anglo American group, mostly at Anglo Platinum, where he was head of process control and instrumentation just before he resigned to move to a far smaller organisation.
- Web Address: www.jubileeplatinum.com