C4 commissioning, also known as hot commissioning, began in May following successful completion of wet commissioning. These different stages mark different tests; the processing plant is first run on water, or a similar fluid, during wet commissioning to check the flows around the plant. Then, material is fed into the plant during hot commissioning to check that the system works with the material, to check instrument calibration, process flows and equipment throughput.Having been granted the C4 certificate, the Bisie processing plant can now operate with material.
The next stage, C5 is the final stage of the commissioning process, and requires that the processing plant be run at full (nameplate), continuous production for 48 hours. However, before that can be achieved, Alphamin are undergoing final optimisation of the plant. So far, Alphamin have extracted 528 tonnes of tin concentrate, which is being delivered to Gerald Metals in Kampala, part of a 5-year offtake agreement. However, the company believes that the project is still on track for nameplate production in the next six months. To break even, Alphamin require 800 tonnes of tin concentrate to be produced per month, slightly below the roughly 1,000 tonne/month nameplate capacity, which is forecast to be achieved in July this year.
Alphamin, via Sound Mining Solutions, are also finishing the revised mine design after having to switch the mining method from Sub Level Caving to Cut and Fill in January. Once this has been completed, the company plans to update the NI 43-101 report.
Our view: Despite having to change the mining method part way through the commissioning process, Alphamin’s Bisie remains on track for production in the second half of the year. Although the company required additional funding to change the mine design, additional funding won’t be required if the mine operates at full production.