Australia-based tin explorer and developer, Kasbah Resources, plans to adapt the development strategy for its Achmmach Tin Project in following a technical review of the 2016 Small Start Option (SSO) Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) previously envisaged for the project.

The SSO DFS was previously announced in July 2016 as an updated DFS, exploring higher average tin grades and a drastically reduced project Capex based on a multi-stage development plan for the Achmmach project. Kasbah has a 75% stake in the project, with minority holdings by Toyota (20%) and Nittetsu Mining (5%).

However, a 2017 technical review highlighted a number of opportunities to reduce project risk in order to substantiate the economics of the project. The most significant change in approach proposed is a departure from the SSO approach to a plant that will commence with a processing capacity of 750,000 tonnes per year. This will reduce the mining risk associated with the SSO strategy of defining higher-grade areas and targeting these in an early phase of operation. Other planned adaptions to the most recent DFS include changes to plant location and layout as well as milling equipment and the process flowsheet, most notably with the planned implementation of ore sorting technology to increase the grade of material entering the main plant.

A three-month test work program is planned to explore the optimisation opportunities in more detail ahead of their inclusion in the project scope, with the 2017 DFS work targeted for completion in the first half of 2018.

ITRI View: The proposed change from a multi-stage development approach will inevitably lead to an increase in initial Capex requirements for the project, although the overall economics over the 10-year proposed life of the operation should be improved. Ore sorting technology has been successfully implemented at the San Rafael Mine in Peru and is currently being installed at the Renison Mine in Tasmania. With major existing producers adopting the technology it is not surprising to see ore sorting being considered at Achmmach, especially considering the large-scale nature of the project.