Newly AIM-list tin player, AfriTin Mining, has plans to move ahead with the expansion of a pilot plant at its Uis tin project in Namibia, after successfully raising £4.5 million in equity and convertible loan notes earlier this year.
AfriTin formed via a demerger from Bushveld Minerals as a spin-off of the company’s two main tin assets, the Uis tin project and the Mokopane tin project in South Africa. The company is currently focussed on development at Uis while also seeking consolidation opportunities for other African tin assets.
The Uis tin mine is a historical hard-rock open pit tin operation located in Namibia’s Erongo region, which ceased operations in 1990 due to the low tin price environment at the time. The company has plans to use the recently raised funds to undertake a pilot plant campaign in 2018 producing 10 tpm of tin concentrate and up to 65 tpm if the plant is upgraded. During this time a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) is planned with an ultimate aim of developing an open pit mining and processing operation producing some 3,000 tpa of tin-in-concentrate by Q2 2020.
The tin grades at Uis are low, with a historical resource of 73Mt at 0.136% Sn (or 99,280 tonnes of contained tin), although the mineralisation is amenable to open cast mining at low stripping ratios and simple gravity separation which should help the economics.
ITRI View: The timeline to production proposed by AfriTin is ambitious. Detailed work on upgrading the resources at Uis to compliant status and assessing the detailed economics of the operation will need to be completed and appraised before the long-term prospects for this project are clear. However, the successful fundraising and planned pilot plant campaign and DFS is a positive sign that significant active development work will be taking place at Uis in the near-term.