More than 80 delegates attended the ITRI seminar aimed at investors and analysts held in London on 5 December. After an overview presentation highlighting the need for more investment in new mine supply over the next few years, six members of the ITRI Explorers and Developers Group gave short presentations outlining their plans to bring on stream new mines in Australia, Spain, Germany and Morocco. Australia could be the main single source of new mine production in the next five years, helping to offset expected declined in production in the big two current suppliers, Indonesia and China. Brief highlights of the presentations follow below.

Consolidated Tin Mines is developing a project in the Herberton area of northern Queensland for open pit mining of low grade deposits, with a number of mining sites to be served by a central ore processing unit. The combined JORC resource is some 9.66 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 0.6% tin, giving 58,000 tonnes of contained tin. Production of up to 5,000 tpy of tin-in-concentrate could potentially start from the end of 2013, with cash operating costs estimated at A$11,500/tonne.

Eurotin is exploring two deposits in Spain which are at the southern end of the West European tin belt running from Cornwall in the UK though Brittany in France. The Oropesa project (Eurotin interest 96%) is a hard-rock deposit, while Santa Maria is a mix of colluvial and potentially alluvial ores (Eurotin 60% interest with potential to earn into 85%). Recent drilling results at Oropesa indicate that mineralisation may extend hundreds of metres downwards and that there may be potential by-product revenue from silver, copper and zinc.

Kasbah Resources now has full control of the Achmmach project in Morocco and this week announced it had agreed to acquire exploration permits for the Bou El Jaj prospect 8km from its core site. Kasbah is on track to complete a full feasibility study of the project by December 2012 and is currently focussed on expanding the JORC resource from 7.0 million tonnes at 0.8% tin (54,000 tonnes contained tin). The mine concept is for a mechanised underground mine producing 5,000 – 6,000 tpy of tin-in-concentrate, although some open pit mining may be possible. In an initial scoping study operating costs were estimated at some US$12,700/tonne.

Stellar Resources owns 60% of the Heemskirk project in Tasmania, and has recently agreed to acquire the balance from long-time JV partners Gippsland. Heemskirk, located very near the Renison mine and good transport and power infrastructure, is one of the higher grade tin projects, with a JORC resource across three deposits of 4.4 million tonnes of ore grading 1.1% tin (48,000 tonnes contained tin). An initial scoping study indicated that the mine could treat 600,000 tpy of ore to produce 3,900 tpy of tin-in-concentrate with cash costs of US$12,780/tonne. A full feasibility study should be ready in September 2013, with mine start-up targeted for 2015.

Tin International was established by Deutsche Rohstoff (68%) and Asia-Pacific investors earlier this year and is planning an ASX launch in mid-2012 (subject to market conditions at the time). TIN controls two very large low grade projects, Gottesberg and Geyer, in Saxony, eastern Germany, with some 180,000 tonnes of contained tin. Both deposits were extensively explored by the old GDR government and the company started a new confirmation drilling programme in November to make the historical resource data JORC compliant. While average grades are low, higher grade portions of the orebodies may be targeted in developing a mining plan. Geyer also has potential by-product indium, zinc and gallium by-product credits.

Venture Minerals‘ Mount Lindsay project is another one based in NW Tasmania, and like the German deposits a mining plan may be based on treatment of the higher grade portions of the orebodies. The mine could also produce tungsten and magnetite. The combined tin/tungsten content of the resource is currently estimated at 120,000 tonnes at a 0.2% cut-off grade, falling to 61,000 tonnes at 0.45%. Venture is exploring over a wide area and says that less than 10% of its targets have been drilled so far. The company has enough cash to take it through to a bankable feasibility study in the second quarter of 2012, but will then require capex of A$162 million to bring the mine into production.