Canadian-listed Brazilian metal explorer, developer and producer, Mining, has released a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and maiden resource for its tailings projects, located in the state of Rondônia in .

At the end of 2016, Meridian entered a joint venture with the original project owner, Coopersanta, and has since focussed on the potential recovery of tin from tailing produced over the 30-year history of Bom Futuro mining operations. The maiden resource includes indicated and inferred resources of 61.2 Mt at 0.058% Sn (32,523 tonnes contained tin). The PEA envisaged a 16 year 3.8Mtpa ROM operation producing 1,200 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate each year. The mine operation was designed as basic excavation and truck hauling for the initial three years with a later investment in a dredging system. A preliminary study was conducted to explore options for tailings disposal, with one location found requiring no capital to be allocated. The capital cost estimate for the operation was US$28.3 million including contingencies and operating costs of ~US$6,400 per tonne of tin.

“These results exceeded our expectations and encourage us to advance our activities with Coopersanta,” said Anthony Julien, president and chief executive officer of Meridian. “Further opportunities exist at Bom Futuro to enhance the value of the project with exploration programs on the newly allocated areas, including extensions to the paleochannel systems which have contributed significantly to past production.”

ITRI View: The tin grades of the maiden resource are low by the standard of leading tailings projects globally, but the low capital cost of the project and simple process flowsheet should help the economics. The project is still at the early exploration stage and we expect it to be a number of years until a significant industrial-scale operation is likely to be realised.