Renison joint-operator Metals X Ltd (ASX: MLX) has reported a quarterly and annual increase in tin production from the historic Tasmanian mine and a new off-take agreement with joint venture partner Yunnan Tin Group.
Contained tin production from Rension was 2,714 in the quarter ending December 2023, up 7% from the previous quarter. Production for the 2023 calendar year totaled 9,532 tonnes tin-in-concentrate, an increase of 12% from 8,404 in 2022. An increase in production is attributed to increases in ore tonnes milled (160,035 t in Q4; 151,580 t in Q3) and improved mill recovery at 78% (above the rolling 12-month average of 76%).
The impact of new access to the higher-grade Area 5 and Leatherwood stopes saw average grade of ore mined enhanced from 1.77% in the quarter ending-September 2023 to 1.84% in the recent quarter. This grade improvement is yet to be reflected in the average grade of ore processed which remained flat at 2.17% in Q4.
2,622 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate was shipped from Renison, including the Metals X share of 1,303 tonnes to Thaisarco and MSC.
Metals X announced it has entered into a new offtake agreement with Yunnan Tin Group for 2024. Shipments under the new agreement will commence in the Q1 2024 following the completion of the company’s contractual obligations to Thaisarco and MSC. Metals X stated that the new contract “materially improves payment terms of trade for the realisation of tin sales”.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased 8.9% quarter-on-quarter to AU$41.74 million, while all-in sustaining costs (AISC) decreased from $26,893 to $26,552 per tonne contained tin. The company attributed decreased costs per unit production to the increase in tin-in-concentrate production, despite an 8.9% decrease in average LME cash contract price from AU$40,667 to AU$37,063 per tonne.
The company reported progress in its ventilation upgrades at Area 5, mine dewatering at the North Renison Decline, and mine resource drilling programmes including 13,475 m of underground drilling. Reserve definition and grade control drilling in 2024 Q1 will be focused on Leatherwood and Area 5 among other stopes.
The company highlighted its previous publication of the Renison Ore Reserve and Life of Mine Update, which projects annual production to 2035.
Providing an update on the Rentails project, which targets the historic Renison Bell tailings dams for tin extraction, Metals X stated that it has made progress as planned on the selection of furnace technology, infrastructure engineering, and hydrogeological and geotechnical management of the tailings dams.
Our view: Metals X’s continued growth in production in line with the Life of Mine plan demonstrates positive progress at Renison. Ongoing progress on the Rentails project is welcome as the Renison underground mine begins to approach the end of its mine life.
Bluestone Mines Tasmania Joint Venture Pty, Yunnan Tin Corporation, the Thailand Smelting & Refining, and the Malaysia Smelting Corporation, Company are members of the International Tin Association.